‘Mind-blowing’ experience for Oscar
London – South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius was far from disappointed after he failed to qualify for the Olympic Games men’s 400m final last night.
The 25-year-old had on Saturday become the first double amputee to compete in an athletics event at the Olympics, but he was never in contention in his semifinal and finished last in a time of 46.54 seconds.
“The whole experience is mind-blowing,” said Pistorius, who had been supported in London by his 89-year-old grandmother.
“My aim was to make the semifinal. It’s a dream come true. Thanks to everyone for their support. I’ve got the (4x400m) relay in a few days.”
After the race Grenada’s world champion Kirani James asked to swap bibs with the South African.
“Oscar should be an inspiration to all of us – whether we are disabled or not,” said James who qualified for the final in a season best 44.59.
On swapping bibs James said: “It means a lot. It takes a lot of courage for him to race here and compete. He’s a God fearing guy and it’s an honour to be competing with him.”
Said Pistorius: “As soon as we crossed the line we’re friends. It was very kind of him. We share a similar life. It’s what the Olympics is all about.”
Nicknamed ‘The Blade Runner’ because he runs on carbon fibre blades fought a long battle to be allowed to run in the Olympics.
A panel of experts finally declared he could compete as long as he used the same pair of blades he used in the Paralympic Games.