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Sprinter Oscar Pistorius will cooperate with an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) analysis to decide whether he gains an advantage from using specialised equipment.
An IAAF statement yesterday said the organisation had started its research at a meeting in Rome on July 13 where South African Pistorius, a double amputee who runs with carbon fibre blades fitted to his legs, competed against able-bodied athletes.
"Video analysis was made of Oscar and the other runners by a team from the Sports Science Institute of the Italian Olympic Committee," the statement said.
"As a result of these initial findings, it has been agreed that the IAAF will fund further laboratory research to investigate and define the properties of Oscar's prosthetic blades."
The statement said the research would be led by "one of the world's leading independent experts in athletics biomechanics", Peter Bruggeman of the Institute of Biomechanics at the German Sport University of Cologne.
The analysis is expected to take three weeks but it will not be done before October.
IAAF president Lamine Diack gave the process a guarded blessing.
"... Now that Oscar has improved his times to the extent that he is able to compete in open athletics competitions, the IAAF has a duty to make sure that his prosthetics are analysed carefully," the statement quoted Diack as saying.
"We cannot permit technical aids that give one athlete an unfair advantage over another."
Pistorius hoped the end of the debate was in sight.
"There is much at stake personally and for the future of all amputee athletes and I applaud the IAAF for recognising that," the statement quoted Pistorius as saying.
"By aligning experts from prosthetics and biomechanics I believe we will be able to put this issue to rest one way or the other."
Pistorius, who holds the double amputee world record in the 100m, 200m and 400m, has set himself the goal of competing at the Olympics.
The IAAF has questioned the legality of his blades. - Reuters