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Oscar Pistorius Moves Step Closer To Olympic Dream

July 20, 2011

Oscar Pistorius has run the 400m qualifying time for both August’s World Championships and the 2012 Olympics.

The South African double amputee, who runs on carbon fibre legs, clocked 45.07 seconds in Italy.

Pistorius, known as ‘Blade Runner’, was 0.18 seconds inside the ‘A standard’ time and could now be selected by South Africa for the London Olympics.

The 24-year-old was cleared to compete against able-bodied athletes in 2008 after a lengthy legal battle.

Pistorius’s previous personal best of 45.61 seconds was inside the ‘B standard’ set by the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) for the event but meant he was unlikely to make the South African team.

Every national federation can select three athletes for the World Championships or Olympics, providing they meet the A standard, with only one allowed if they only meet the B standard.

Before his run in Italy, Pistorius was only the fourth fastest South African – behind LJ van Zyl, Ofentse Mogawane and Lebogang Moeng – over the distance this year.

A time of 46.65 in gusty conditions in Padua on Sunday had left Pistorius with just one more chance to qualify for the World Championships and his emphatic victory in Lignano saw him leapfrog Mogawane and Moeng.

His winning time on Tuesday would have been good enough to earn him fifth place in the 2008 Olympic final in Beijing.

Pistorius is only in contention to compete at the highest level of the sport after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) overturned an IAAF ruling that his prosthetic limbs gave him an unfair advantage in May 2008.

Five months earlier a study commissioned by the IAAF, which compared Pistorius with six able-bodied athletes capable of similar performance, had claimed that Pistorious’s blades required him to use 25% less energy than his rivals to run at the same speed.

Pistorius had argued that he was running at a disadvantage, with less blood in his body and no calf muscles.

Cas concluded that the evidence was inconclusive and cleared him to run.

A congenital condition meant Pistorius was born without fibulae – lower leg bones – and led to the decision to amputate both legs below the knee when he was 11 months old.

He preferred rugby union, water polo and tennis as a schoolboy and only took up running seriously in 2004 after being prescribed it as part of his rehabilitation from a rugby injury.

It proved a successful decision with Pistorius having won four gold medals at the Paralympics and holding world records for disabled athletes at the 100m, 200m and 400m.

One Comment leave one →
  1. *Stargazer permalink
    July 26, 2011 12:20 pm

    This guy is knockout, awe-inspiring, nothing less than a sporting hero – a legend in the making! What a great role model – for able-bodied and disabled kids alike!

    Please keep these posts coming SameDifference1, they get me through the day!!

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