Oscar making Olympic strides
Johannesburg - Double-amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius ran inside the 400-meter qualifying mark for the London Olympics for a second time on Saturday, leaving him one race away from making history at this year's games.
Pistorius clocked 45.20 on his carbon fiber blades to win his first 400 race of the season at a meet in Pretoria and again better the mark laid down by the IAAF for able-bodied athletes.
The 25-year-old multiple Paralympic champion now has to go inside the time once more in an international race to qualify for the Olympics, according to criteria now agreed on by Athletics South Africa and the country's Olympic committee.
Pistorius ran 45.07 in a race in Italy last year, faster than the then qualifying time of 45.25. The world athletics body has since adjusted the time for the 400 to 45.30.
Either way, the South African has twice gone inside the able-bodied qualifying standard and needs one more sub-45.30 run overseas to realise his dream and become the first amputee athlete to compete at the Olympics. He was the first amputee athlete to run at the world championships in Daegu, South Korea last year.
"I am absolutely thrilled to have run the Olympic qualification time today," Pistorius said following his morale-boosting run at the regional meet in Pretoria. "This is a huge moment for me and I am trying to take it all in. I felt strong out there and when I crossed the line and saw the time it was such a magical moment for me."
Pistorius's agent, Peet van Zyl, said they were confident of now making the time once more in a meet outside South Africa and sealing a place at the London Games.
"If you want to go to the Olympics, you have to be in form anyway," Van Zyl said. "We know he can do it."