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Blade Runner’s best

He left it late but South African double amputee Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius has finally qualified for next month’s world championships by smashing his 400 metres personal best in Lignano, Italy on Tuesday.

Pistorius, who runs with carbon fibre prosthetic running blades, clocked 45.07 seconds to record a time inside the IAAF A qualifying time of 45.25sec. This after having missed out on qualifying in Padua, also Italy on Sunday. On that occasion he ran 46.65 seconds. Tuesday night’s race also saw him beating Jamaican Lanceford Spence who had won Sunday’s race.

Until last night his personal best stood at 45.61sec.

“It was just a dream race,” Pistorius, 24, said in a late night telephone conversation with Reuters from Lignano. I just have not been able to sleep. I must have 300 messages congratulating me. Later on his Twitter feed he said: Feels kind of surreal.. To have an A-qualification time in the bag for next yrs Olympic Games! Thank you all the your support!”

The performance enabled Pistorius to become the first amputee sprinter to qualify for the world championships, which begin on August 27 in Daegu, South Korea.

His achievement was all the more dramatic as his qualifying time was recorded on the final day of eligibility for the South African team, he said. “See you in Daegu” sounds so wonderful,” said Pistorius, who had both lower legs amputated when he was 11 months old.

A multiple Paralympic gold medallist, the South African had sought for years to compete in the world championships and Olympics. The Court of Arbitration for Sport gave him a chance in 2008 when it ruled in his favor after a long legal battle with the International Association of Athletics Federations over the use of his running blades, which the IAAF said gave him an unfair advantage.

On Tuesday, those previous disappointments were forgotten when he booked his place at the worlds with one final composed surge. “With 180 metres out, I just decided to set out for the end, and I really ran a very comfortable last 100 metres,” Pistorius said. “It is kind of strange because I broke my personal best by half a second, which is ridiculous,” he said with a satisfying chuckle.


4 comments
Fast Guy
Fast Guy

Ha Conna you showed dem laitie. They said you were not good enough to go to India laas jaar but you did show dem this year by qualifying so many times for Daegu. Sterkte vir Daegu maatjie en pasop virri Sushi

Richard
Richard

And by the way I'm not Richard Stander.

Richard
Richard

Goes to show that athletes can improve drastically in a short space of time. Well done Oscar. You have not only proven that you are good enough but also proven that given the opportunity athletes can improve drastically. It took you a good few races but you got there. The exposure to top quality events is very important for athletes to excel. Take note how many athletes qualified late in the season. If we pressure the athletes to peak too early in the season they may never perform at the right time. It shows that you do not need to be a World beater all season to have a chance at a medal. World rankings mean very little at the Olympics or World Champs. We saw this year how young South Africans improved drasticly at the African Juniors and World Youth. Good luck Oscar!!! You can go even faster in Daegu

Gideon Sam
Gideon Sam

Well done Oscar!!! It just goes to show what determination and guts can do. You continue to be a real inspiration to all of us.