Profile: Oscar Pistorius, athlete

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The Independent Online

I remember this guy from the Paralympics...

That's right. Oscar Pistorius won gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008. But now he's won another prize, one he's had his eye on his whole career; the right to race against able-bodied runners at a major competition. He's just qualified for the South African team heading to the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, later this month. He'll be the first man without legs to compete in the championships.

But wasn't he banned from competing?

He was. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruled in 2008 that his carbon-fibre legs – known as "blades" – gave him a 20 to 30 per cent advantage over able-bodied athletes. He took them to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), where he won his case. Since then he's been running against able-bodied athletes and now, with an eye-opening personal best time of 45.07 seconds in the 400m – fast enough to have qualified for the last Olympic final – he's made the cut for Daegu.

A dream come true?

Pistorius had his legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday, having been born without fibulas, but that didn't stop him from getting involved in sport from a young age. At school in Pretoria he played rugby and water polo and took up athletics on the advice of a school teacher while recovering from a rugby injury. It was the beginning of one of sport's most remarkable journeys.

So, next stop the Olympics?

Maybe. He failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, but on the basis of current form, there's every reason to believe that "the blade runner" could be taking his place on the starter's blocks at London 2012.