Oscar confident for Olympics

2012-01-15 19:07

Johannesburg - Amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius is confident he will emulate his feat at last year's World Athletics Championships by qualifying for the London Olympic Games.

Pistorius clocked 45.07 seconds in Lignano, Italy, in July last year, passing the A-qualifying standard for the men's 400 metres by 0.23 seconds.

The following month he broke new ground by reaching the semi-finals at the global championships in Daegu, South Korea, and pocketed a silver medal after running in the heats of the 4x400m relay.

"I am very confident, but I think although I'm optimistic, I'm also a realist," Pistorius told the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in an interview.

"There's a lot of hard work that's got to go in over the next two or three months for pre-season.

"My weight is looking very good, which is important for me, and with that, you know, training is a lot easier when you're in the right shape.

"So I'm very confident. I've got the right team."

With one qualifying performance under his belt, the 25-year-old sprinter will need to dip under the 45.30 barrier one more time to secure his place in the individual 400m event in London.

"If I run two A qualification times, it's kind of like an automatic qualification," he said.

"So my goal would be to run an A qualification time somewhere during the period between March to the cut off date, which I think is the end of June."

If Pistorius does qualify for the able-bodied Games in July, he will have a tough task on his hands, with the Paralympic Games starting less than three weeks later.

While Pistorius, a four-time Paralympic gold medallist, is expected to focus on the 400m individual and 4x400m relay events at the Olympics, he will compete in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 4x100m relay events at the Paralympics.

"The challenge of doing both the Olympic and Paralympic games is pretty tremendous," he said.

"Being able to stay on peak and qualify, you know, a month or two months out before the Olympics and then still maintain the high level of competition for the Paralympics is going to be very demanding."

Having lost a 100m race in a disability event for the first time last year, when he was pipped on the line by Jerome Singleton at the IPC Athletics World Championships in New Zealand, Pistorius believed the status of Paralympic sports was continually rising.

"The 100 metres is definitely one of the events that I'm going to struggle with at the London Paralympic Games.

"It's a very close event and if you have one foot placing that goes off, or you're not explosive enough on the start, or your driving phase on the first 30 metres isn't good enough, you're not going to cut it by the end of that 100 metres.

"So it's very exciting and very nerve racking and losing a race, I think, makes me a bit more hungry coming into this year."

Pistorius, based in Italy during pre-season training, has become an international star after his performances in able-bodied events in recent years.

Last week he took the initial forays into a new hobby as a participant on Dancing with the Stars - the Italian version.

He has also been nominated for two Laureus awards - in the Breakthrough and Disability categories.

"The Laureus Awards and being nominated in these fields definitely does show that the platform that Paralympic sports is operating on is growing tremendously and it makes me very proud."