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IAAF's board pushes decision to Monday, Pistorius says he won't 'stand down'

PRETORIA, South Africa -- Double-amputee sprinter Oscar
Pistorius said Friday he will appeal "at the highest levels" if
the IAAF bars him from competing in the Beijing Olympics on grounds
that his prosthetic racing blades give him an unfair edge.

"I feel that it is my responsibility, on behalf of myself and
all other disabled athletes, to stand firmly and not allow one
organization to inhibit our ability to compete using the very tools
without which we simply cannot walk, let alone run," Pistorius
said. "I will not stand down."

The International Association of Athletics
Federations postponed until Monday its decision on whether the
21-year-old South African can compete in Beijing this summer. The federation is
widely expected to rule that Pistorius is ineligible because he
gets a mechanical advantage from his racing blades.

German professor Gert-Peter Brueggemann, who conducted tests on
the prosthetic limbs, said they give him a clear edge over
able-bodied runners.

But Pistorius said he was "even more resolute" in his belief
that the "Cheetah" limbs to do not give him any competitive
boost.

"Should the IAAF elect to use this information to ban me from
competing in IAAF sanctioned events, I will appeal this decision at
the highest levels, while also continuing with my quest to race in
the Paralympic Games and hopefully the Olympic Games," he said at
a news conference.

The IAAF's ruling was first expected Thursday but postponed for a second
time until Monday.

The IAAF received a letter from Pistorius commenting on the
Brueggemann study, and IAAF president Lamine Diack and the
27-member IAAF Council will assess both the letter and the study
this weekend.

"It is my hope that the IAAF will congratulate me and welcome
me to the Olympic stage, thereby living up to its credo to
'encourage participation in athletics at all levels throughout the
world regardless of age, gender or race,' for I am one of those
persons, too," Pistorius said.

IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said Pistorius' plans to appeal a ban
would not be taken into consideration.

"It doesn't change anything for us," Davies said in a
telephone interview. "We will still make an announcement on
Monday. ... Whatever he did, we still have our own procedure -- to
contact the Council, to look at the report, details, the letter
from Pistorius and make a decision."

Pistorius' manager, Peet van Zyl, said he could take the case
as far as the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne,
Switzerland. If Pistorius is banned from the Beijing Games, he will
continue fighting for inclusion at future Olympics, van Zyl said.

"Hopefully by 2012 in London, he will be on South Africa's
Olympic team," he said.

Pistorius worked with Brueggemann in Cologne during two days of
testing in November. Brueggemann was trying to determine if the J-shaped, carbon-fiber
"Cheetah" extensions to his amputated legs were an advantage over the legs
of able-bodied runners.

Brueggemann told Die Welt newspaper last month that, based on
his research, Pistorius "has considerable advantages over athletes
without prosthetic limbs who were tested by us."

"It was more than just a few percentage points. I did not
expect it to be so clear," he added.

Brueggemann and his scientists tested Pistorius' energy
consumption and compared it with data of able-bodied 400-meter
runners of the same speed.

Pistorius said he was disturbed that Brueggemann had spoken of
the results before he had received them himself and "can only
wonder as to his motivation and who facilitated this action."

"While I appreciate the consideration and the expense that the
IAAF has taken upon itself to evaluate my case, the experts I have
spoken with believe that the data that has been collected from the
testing considers too few of the variables that need to be examined
to make a decision of this magnitude," Pistorius said.

The IAAF adopted a rule last summer prohibiting the use of any
"technical aids" deemed to give an athlete an advantage over
another.

Ossur, the Icelandic company that is a leader in the production
of prosthetics, braces and supports and also made Pistorius'
blades, has said the blades do not provide an edge over able-bodied
athletes.

"Any judgment against Pistorius at this stage and based on
insufficient information, would be irresponsible and unfair," the
company said in a statement.

Pistorius has set world records in the 100, 200 and 400 in
Paralympic events. To make the Olympics in Beijing, Pistorius would
still need to qualify for the South African team and make the
qualifying times.

Pistorius was born without fibulas -- the long, thin outer bone
between the knee and ankle -- and was 11 months old when his legs
were amputated below the knee.

He began running competitively four years ago to treat a rugby
injury, and nine months later won the 200 meters at the 2004
Paralympic Games in Athens.

Pistorius -- nicknamed the "Blade Runner" -- competed in the 400
at two international-level able-bodied meets in 2007. He finished
second in a "B" race in 46.90 seconds at the July 13 Golden League meet
in Rome. Two days later, he was disqualified for
running out of his lane in an event in Sheffield, England.