Olympics 2012

Oscar: Happiest day of my life

2012-07-04 15:24
Oscar Pistorius (AFP)
Johannesburg - Oscar Pistorius will become the first double amputee to compete at the Olympics after being included Wednesday in the South African 400m and 4x400m relay team for 2012 London Games, an official said.

GALLERY: Countdown to 2012 London Olympics

"Today is truly one of the proudest days of my life. To have been selected to represent Team South Africa at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the individual 400m and the 4x400m relay is a real honour and I am so pleased that years of hard work, determination and sacrifice have all come together," Oscar wrote on his official website.
 
"I have run two Olympic 'A' standard times over the past twelve months and with the time I ran at the African Championships last week I know my speed and fitness are constantly improving so that I will peak in time for the Olympics.
 
"I have a phenomenal team behind me who have helped get me here and I, along with them, will now put everything we can into the final few weeks of preparations before the Olympic Games where I am aiming to race well, work well through the rounds, post good times and maybe even a personal best time on the biggest stage of them all.
 
"I am also hugely excited to then be competing to defend my three Paralympic titles at the Paralympic Games. I believe will see some amazing times posted and I am very much looking forward to what will be an incredible Olympics and Paralympics in London."

South African Olympic chief Gideon Sam congratulated Pistorius, the rest of the relay team and nine other athletes added to the 112 named last month as the country seeks to improve on a dismal one-medal show at the 2008 Beijing Games.

"It has taken four years, but now we can concentrate on doing our best at the Games. The preparation has been done and now it is up to our athletes to take over in London and show us what they are made of.

"As I have said many times before, we are not taking passengers to London. Everyone has met selection criteria and are genuine Olympic Games material. I wish them all the best."

Called the 'Blade Runner' and 'The Fastest Man on no legs', Pistorius was part of the South African 4x400m relay squad that came second at the 2011 world championships in South Korea although he did not run in the final.

There had been fears that South Africa would not send a relay team as no athlete qualified for the 400m and the world championship silver medal-winning team has been hit by poor form and injuries.

Pistorius runs with carbon-fibre artificial 'blades' and was cleared to compete at top level in 2008 when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned an IAAF ruling that his blades gave him an unfair advantage.

The South African had both legs amputated below the knee before turning one-year-old because of a congenital condition that meant he was born without lower leg bones.

Having failed to qualify for the 400m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics he went on to compete at the 2011 world championships in South Korea, where he made the 400m semi-final and won a silver in the 4x400m relay.

However, his omission from the relay team for the final left him venting his anger at South African officials.

Pistorius, a three-event defending champion, will also compete at the Paralympic Games in London in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 4x100m relay.

"I am extremely excited about the Paralympic Games in London and a big focus for me will be defending my three titles as well as being part of the South African team competing for a world record in the 4x100m relay at the Paralympics," he said.

Read more on:    olympics 2012  |  oscar pistorius  |  athletics
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