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Blades versus Shades

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Oscar Pistorius

PARALYMPIC sensation Oscar Pistorius will run against Olympic and world champion Jeremy Wariner at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix next month.


Pistorius – who has ambitions to compete in the Beijing Olympics next year – is nicknamed Blade Runner due to the carbon fibre blades he uses on both legs below the knees.


A head-to-head with Wariner – expected to be the male star of this year’s world championships in Osaka – will be one of the highlights of the July 15 meeting in Sheffield.


Other big names in the race will include Britain’s number one Tim Benjamin and the Commonwealth champion John Steffenson from Australia.


It had been thought that such a match up would not be possible after the sport’s global governing body the IAAF passed a rule in March that banned any runner deemed to benefit from artificial help.


However, that IAAF has since clarified its stance, and wants to use the Sheffield event as a part of its research into whether or not Pistorius gains such an advantage from his blades.


Pistorius said: “I’m delighted to get the opportunity to compete in the Norwich Union British Grand Prix in Sheffield. I’ve always enjoyed competing in Paralympic competitions in Britain and finally I have the chance to compete in a major able-bodied meeting here.


“With the likes of Jeremy Wariner in the field I couldn’t ask for a stronger test, but these are the sort of challenges I want.”


Pistorius is the double amputee world record holder for the 100m, 200m and 400m and recently finished runner up in the 400m at the South African able-bodied national championships.


Although his best of 46.34 seconds is outside the qualifying standard for the world championships this year, he would be a likely pick for his country’s 4x400m relay squad should he be cleared to compete.


Tickets for the Sheffield meeting are now available on 0870 402 8000 or online here.