It was fair to say that Oscar Pistorius was in something of a state of shock when he arrived in Manchester yesterday to prepare to follow the Lightning Bolt show. The 22-year-old Paralympian might well have still been reeling from the speedboat crash he suffered three months ago in which he suffered broken ribs and a fractured jaw. It was not so much the moment that his life flashed before his eyes, though, as the moment Usain Bolt flashed down Deansgate last Sunday that was responsible for the South African being somewhat shaken yesterday.
"Unbelievable," Pistorius said, reflecting on the 150m world best that Bolt achieved there two days previously. "It was just amazing."
This Sunday it will be the turn of Pistorius, known to the world as the Blade Runner thanks to the carbon-fibre prosthetics with which he runs after being born without fibulae and having both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old, to wow the Mancunian crowds. He is in town for the BT Paralympic World Cup, which opens today and runs through to Monday. He competes in the 100m and 400m held at the Manchester Regional Arena.
A year ago Pistorius won the right to use his j-shaped Cheetah Flex-Foot legs in mainstream athletics competition. "That was the easier part," he said. "The harder part will be getting the qualifying times for the major championships." Still, at least the Blade Runner is in one piece after the crash. "It was scary," Pistorius reflected. "I was just lucky the surgery I had went well."