Athletics

Pressure off Oscar - manager

2012-03-18 17:14
Oscar Pistorius (File)

Johannesburg - While he is yet to book his place in South Africa's Olympic team, a weight has been lifted off the back of Oscar Pistorius, his manager said on Sunday.

Pistorius, 25, who runs on carbon fibre blades, clocked 45.20 seconds, dipping under the 45.30 qualifying standard for the London Games at the Gauteng North Championships on Saturday.

"We're very chuffed with the performance," said his manager, Peet van Zyl.

"It has taken a lot of pressure off because he doesn't have to worry about qualifying in the domestic season.

"All that's left now is to do it again overseas."

Pistorius must go under the qualifying mark again in an "international" meeting, according to the Athletics SA criteria, to secure his place in the country's Olympic team.

Van Zyl said he would compete a few more times in South Africa before heading overseas.

He would take part in the SA Disabled Championships, starting in Durban on March 24, where he would compete in the 100m, 200m and 400m sprints in the T43/44 class.

He would also turn out at the SA Senior Championships in Port Elizabeth in April and possibly the SA Open Championships in Pretoria in May.

The first race on the 'Blade Runner's' international schedule, Van Zyl said, was the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester in May, where he would compete in the 200m event.

Pistorius had also confirmed his entry for the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava and the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games in Hengelo, before lining up at the Diamond League meetings in Eugene and New York in early June.

"He might run one more race in Europe in June, but if he's qualified by then, there'll be no need, and he'll focus on training," Van Zyl said.

"He'll run another two or three races shortly before the London Games in July."

Pistorius had set himself a target of improving his performance at last year's World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, where he finished eighth in his semi-final.

"He wants to make the semi-finals in London, but the goal is to do better than he did in Daegu" Van Zyl said.

"All the top athletes in the world will be there and he will need to be on his A game.

"If he reaches the semi-finals, he'll run as hard as he can, and if he gets to the final it will be an obvious bonus, but the goal is to perform well in the semis."

His management team hoped the experience gained at the global championships, where Pistorius made history as part of the 4X400m relay team which won the silver medal, would work to his advantage in London.

"Last year he ran rounds in Daegu for the first time in his life and it was a great learning curve," Van Zyl said.

"He had never run hard one day, and the next day had to run another 45-second race.

"Now it's a matter of taking what we learned in Daegu and putting it into practice in London."

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