'Blade Runner' hits Olympic standard

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Oscar Pistorius had a night without sleep after achieving his dream of an "A" standard 400m qualifying time for both the World Championships and Olympic Games at a meeting in Lignano, Italy, on Tuesday.

The South African double amputee, known as "the Blade Runner" because of his carbon fibre prosthetic running blades, powered to a stunning victory in 45.07sec, smashing his previous best time of 45.61sec and finishing comfortably inside the "A" standard qualifying time of 45.25sec that has been set by the International Association of Athletics Federations for both the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, next month, and the Olympic Games in London in 2012.

Pistorius will become the first amputee sprinter to compete at the World Championships, which get underway on 27 August. "Needed a 45.25 A standard, ran a 45.07sec!" he said. "Feels kind of surreal to have an A-qualification time in the bag for next year's Olympic Games. Can't sleep I'm so happy. I have a dumb smile that's permanent!"

Pistorius, 24, had both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old because of a congenital condition that meant he was born without fibulae – lower leg bones. He failed to meet the qualifying standard for the 400m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned a ruling by the IAAF that his blades gave him an unfair advantage.

Pistorius has moved from fourth to second place in South African 400m rankings for 2011 and stands 15th in the world rankings. His 45.07sec would have been good enough for fifth place in the 2008 Olympic final.

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