Paralympics 2012

Bigger 'Oscar hype' overseas

2012-08-28 23:20
Oscar Pistorius (File)
London - With the Olympics over and the Paralympics taking pride of place, Oscar Pistorius is ready for his next challenge.

Facing reporters in London on Tuesday, the South African was at ease with camera flashes and a barrage of questions.

The 25-year-old said he was in good condition and, although he was more comfortable running the 200m and 400m events, he hoped for a medal in the 100m.

"I'd like to make the top three in the 100m and successfully defend my titles in the 200m and 400m events," Pistorius said.

"Whether it be in the pool or on the track, the 100m race is so popular because it is always so closely contested. I'd moved away from the 100m and ran my first race in Warsaw last weekend, in 11.1 seconds, so I feel like I'm in good shape to be a feature in the race."

Having reached the semi-finals of the 400m at the Olympics and the finals of the 4x400m relay, Pistorius is pushing himself by competing in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 4x100m relay.

"I'm feeling good and well-conditioned to run the 400m, but over the last three weeks I have changed my training and spent a lot of time doing heavier weights and more speed work to help me with the shorter events."

Having won the T44 200m gold medal in Athens, in a Paralympic world record time of 21.97 seconds, he defended his title and
added the 100m and 400m titles four years later in Beijing.

"The 200m is my favourite event and I always joke that the 400m is a little too much effort for me," Pistorius said.

"The 200m race is the one I'm looking forward to the most, but it is also quite competitive, so I'll have to make sure I'm out of the blocks fast to defend my title."

Competing in the Olympics did not affect Pistorius's build-up to the Paralympics as he said it was common to run in different meetings around the world at this time of year.

"It was very special to take part in the Olympics. It had been one of my goals over the last four years to qualify, so it pushed me to want to run better and harder and it really inspired me.

"What's so nice for me is that I'm now used to the track, and will be running in front of the same passionate crowd, so hopefully I can use it to my advantage.

"Every year, I compete around the world from May to September, and we look at which competitions are important. I needed to peak in the 400m, so it worked out well for me."

Commenting on his high profile in London, Pistorius said he had received more attention abroad than back home in South Africa.

"I get used more [for public relations events] internationally than I do in South Africa. Sportsmen as a whole don't get used that much at home.

"When I look at the traffic on my web page, South Africans are eighth behind people from other countries who look at my site.

"In South Africa, the negative things about a sport often overshadow the sportsmen themselves."

Read more on:    paralympics 2012  |  oscar pistorius
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