'Blade Runner' makes history
Oscar Pistorius (AP Photo)
Daegu - Oscar Pistorius' history-making participation at the world championships ended with a silver medal after his teammates guided South Africa to second in the 4x400m relay on Friday.
The controversial 'Blade Runner', who runs with carbon fibre prosthetic running blades and was the first amputee to compete at the worlds, finished last in his semifinal heat in the individual 400m.
He was omitted from the relay team for the final, having run the first leg in qualifiers on Thursday, when South Africa finished third quickest.
"Haven't been included in the final for the SA men's 4x400m. Pretty Gutted," Pistorius said earlier on his Twitter account.
"Thats me for the @Daegu2011org World Champs! Gods blessed me! Semifinals in the 400m and a National Record in the 4x400m semi!Thank u all!x"
As a relay squad member, however, Pistorius will mark a memorable championships by returning home with a world silver medal in his pocket after his teammates battled off Jamaica for second behind a strong US quartet.
Pistorius said after the individual 400m that competing at the worlds had been "a dream absolutely come true", and that he would use the experience gained to improve as he targets next year's London Olympics.
The issue of whether his blades give Pistorius, cleared three years ago to run against able-bodied athletes, an advantage is back in the spotlight following his qualification for the worlds.
But he again rejected suggestions that he has an advantage, saying that the technology behind his prosthetic blades had not changed for many years.
"I haven't changed a bolt on my legs in seven years," he said earlier this week. "There's no other Paralympic athlete running close to me.
"It's important for me to remain fair in my sports and I think I have done that."
Pistorius, 24, had both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old because of a congenital condition that meant he was born without fibulae – lower leg bones.
Pistorius failed to qualify for the 400m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics having been given the green light to attempt to qualify after the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned a ruling by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) that his blades gave him an unfair advantage.
London Olympics chief Sebastian Coe has welcomed Pistorius' qualification for the 2012 Games, saying the double amputee's participation would be a "fascinating" prospect.
"He will be given every courtesy and every opportunity to compete at the very highest level," Coe, also IAAF vice-president, told AFP.
"The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) made their judgement and Oscar is here and he's welcome. He will compete and if he gets a medal, he will get a medal," Coe said in reference to his appearance in Daegu.