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Spot in final is a few strides too far for Oscar
- Updated: August 5, 2012
By Mark Etheridge
Oscar Pistorius came to London with a trio of things to do on his athletics wishlist.
Firstly the double-leg amputee wanted to fulfil his dream of competing in the Olympics, next was to reach the semi-final of the 400-metre track event.
And then a new personal best in the event would do just nicely, thank-you!
Well on Saturday he had achieved that goal of both competing in the Olympics as well as making the semi-finals, but on Sunday the other two wishes were just a few strides too far out of his reach.
He ended last in his semi-final, his 46.54 seconds finish well off the pace as Grenada’s Kirani James won in 44.59 seconds and second slowest of the 24 semi-finalists.
But whatever the result, he still achieved that Olympic dream and will no doubt have added a whole lot more fans to the legion of supporters he already boasts.
Mostly loved by his fellow competitors, Grenada’s James was first to come across the track, first to congratulate the young South African and then to ask him to swop bib numbers.
Bib No 2790 will now go home to Grenada to remind teenager James that he raced against one of the most talked about men in world sport.
Immediately after the race, James went on record as saying: “Oscar is something special. It was a memorable moment for me to be out here with him.”
For his part, Pistorius later said: “The whole experience is mind-blowing. My aim was to make the semi-final. It’s a dream come true. Thanks to everyone for their support. I’ve got the (4x400m) relay in a few days.”
Pistorius had gone into the semi-finals as 16th fastest of 24 qualifiers ÔÇô to book a place in the final he would have needed to place first or second in his heat or be one of the two fastest losers.
Drawn in lane five, six of his opponents had season bests better than the 45.44 credited to him by organisers although he has run a 45.20 in Pretoria this season.
At the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Pistorius also ended last in his heat with a 46.19 and had said at a packed press conference last week that he was also hoping to improve his finishing position in the semi.
Whatever the result though and Oscar will walk away a winner and still has the 4x400m relay to look forward to where South Africa will be looking to at least make the final and possibly medal. After all the South Africans secured silver in the same event in Daegu.