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Coe welcomes Oscar

South African Oscar ‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius will be made welcome at next year’s Olympics, according to London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe.

Pistorius achieved the 400-metre qualifying mark this week and is set to compete at the World Championships in August.

“He is eligible [for the Olympics] and I am guessing he will want to compete. We will welcome him,” the BBC Sport website quoted Coe as saying.

Pistorius, a double amputee, clocked a personal best of 45.07 seconds in Lignano, Italy, on Tuesday. The 24-year-old, who runs with carbon fibre prosthetic running blades after both his lower legs were amputated when he was 11 months old, achieved the ‘A’ qualification standard with the run and needs to repeat the feat twice next year to achieve South Africa’s Olympic qualification criteria.

Pistorius, the first amputee sprinter to qualify for the world championships in South Korea, has fought a long legal battle with the IAAF over the use of blades.

“Those issues were teased out, the Court of Arbitration made their judgement and he’s eligible to compete and we will make him very welcome,” Coe added.

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, water polo and tennis as a schoolboy and only took up running seriously in 2004 after it was suggested as part of his rehabilitation from a rugby injury.


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