Bladerunner shifts focus | SASCOC - SASCOC

Bladerunner shifts focus

Double amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius says his focus will now shift towards able-bodied competition, after returning home with four medals on Monday from the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Pistorius bagged three gold medals and one silver, and while he was satisfied with his haul – the largest of the South African contingent – he was already discussing his attempts to qualify for the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea in August, and the 2012 London Olympics.

ÔÇ£There’s a year-and-a-half to go (to the London Games), and I just need to put my head down and push for it,ÔÇØ he told Sapa on Monday.

After missing qualification for the men’s 400m event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, having received clearance to compete against able-bodied athletes on the eve of the quadrennial event, he again fell short in an attempt to qualify for last year’s Commonwealth Games.

This year he hopes to make history in Daegu, as he strives towards his goal of competing against the best able-bodied athletes in the world.

ÔÇ£I competed in 12 able-bodied competitions last year, and I missed the qualifying standard by seven hundredths of a second,ÔÇØ Pistorius said. ÔÇ£We’ve got four months to go before the European season, and I’m just going to have to work harder at it. I’m still very hungry and I’m looking forward to the challenge.ÔÇØ

Pistorius said the standard of competition in disability events had improved significantly in recent years.

The four-time Paralympic Games gold medallist lost out to Jerome Singleton of the U.S. in the men’s T43/44 100m final in Christchurch.

ÔÇ£I hate losing, and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it, but it’s good for the sport because it adds more of a competitive edge,ÔÇØ Pistorius said.

ÔÇ£I haven’t focussed a lot on the 100m for the last couple of years, but it’s the flagship event for sprinters at global championships and it’s an event in which I still have goals that I’d like to achieve. Having said that, Jerome is a brilliant athlete and he deserved the win.ÔÇØ

Arnu Fourie, another sprinter, agreed with Pistorius that the standard of Paralympic competition had drastically improved.

Fourie won bronze in the men’s 200m in Christchurch, and gold with Pistorius, David Roos and Samkelo Radebe in the amputee 4X100m relay.

ÔÇ£The standard of competition since Beijing has improved a lot,ÔÇØ Fourie said. ÔÇ£Before, you might have had a four or five metre gap between the winner and the rest of the field.

ÔÇ£In the 100m final in New Zealand (in which he finished fourth behind Singleton), the first four guys finished within 0.09sec. That kind of quality competition is very good for Paralympic sports.ÔÇØ

South Africa placed seventh on the table in Christchurch with 25 medals – nine gold, seven silver and nine bronze.