Pistorius Holds Olympic Hope


South African double amputee runner, Oscar Pistorius geared up for his latest attempt to seal an historic Olympic place by maintaining his winning record at the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester.

The South African clocked 22.08 seconds into a headwind to win the T42/43/44 200 metres at the Regional Arena in comprehensive fashion.

“It wasn’t for me the most explosive performance I’ve had, but it was comfortable,” he said after what is set to be his last race in Britain before the Olympics.

There is more at stake when he races over 400m against an able-bodied field at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava on Friday as he chases an Olympic ‘A’ standard time for the third time in 10 months.

That would finally be enough to satisfy the South African Federation he is worth a place on the team for the Olympics and make him the first amputee athlete to compete at both Games.

Pistorius added: “I’ve got a tough race on Friday night, that’s going to be a bit of a challenge.

“Last year I ran 46 seconds flat there and I would like to go under 46secs this time for my starting race of the summer.

“Today’s race loosens me up a bit. I’ve got tomorrow to recover and then we race on Friday, so hopefully I can travel properly, settle in nicely and blast it hard on Friday.

“I have run a qualification time in the 400m and my second fastest time ever in the 400m so I know I’m in great shape.

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“I’m the same weight as I was last season. We’re at the beginning of the season now and I think if I looked at my times last year they were pretty similar so I’m happy with where we are now.”

The 25-year-old, known as ‘Blade Runner’, has already run 45.20secs this year, inside the ‘A’ standard of 45.30, to follow his 45.07 personal best last August.

The four-time Paralympic champion, who has surely already done enough to earn a spot in at least the relay, in which he won a silver medal at last year’s World Championships, also races in Hengelo in Holland on Sunday, and at the two Diamond League meetings in the United States over the coming weeks.

And he feels the high-pressure races bring the best out of him.

“I actually perform pretty well under pressure, that’s been my strong point,” he said. “When it gets to big races I seem to do well and I seem to struggle to get excited for the smaller races.

“As the season progresses usually I get quicker and quicker as the pressure increases so hopefully that’s what happens.”

Pistorius’ thunder was almost stolen – although not quite – by Briton Graeme Ballard, who took double gold in the T36 100 and 200, shattering the world record over the shorter distance with an 11.98 run.

The cerebral palsy athlete said: “I just went out with the intention of getting my best time and I ended up with a personal best and a world record.”