Pistorius primed to make history
It was early in 2007 that Tom Hanks declared an interest in acquiring the film rights to Oscar Pistorius' life story.
Since then, Pistorius' quest to appear on the big stage of an able-bodied major championship has seemed like a Forrest Gump saga but, at around 3.15am British time tomorrow, the South African amputee will finally get to line up against the world's best 400m runners in the heats at the World Championships in Daegu.
The 24-year-old does so with controversy still raging in some quarters about whether or not he gains an unfair advantage from the carbon-fibre blades he uses. "There have been a couple of people that have been ill-formed commenting about it," said Pistorius, whose legs were amputated below the knee when he was aged 11 months. "Scientists and industry leaders agree there is no net advantage from the prosthetic legs.
"I have had to go through a lot of tests to prove that I don't have an advantage. I really do believe in the purity of sport or I wouldn't be here. For me, it was an important thing to make sure I don't have an advantage. Integrity of the sport comes first and foremost."
In 2007, the International Association of Athletics Federations introduced a rule banning the use of "any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels or any element that provides a user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device". However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport overruled the world governing body of track and field, allowing Pistorius to compete in mainstream events.
Yesterday, at a packed press conference in Daegu, Michael Johnson, the 400m world record holder, gave his public backing to the young man from Pretoria. "I've been clear about my position from the very beginning,"Johnson said. "I'm supportive of Oscar because the rules state that he cancompete."
At the same time, the IAAF announced that Pistorius can compete in the 4 x 400m relay in Daegu, but only if he runs the first leg for South Africa. "This person is a particular case," IAAF president Lamine Diack said. "Wedecided to let him take part in the World Championships and we will see what the result will be. The only thing we said to the South African federation is that if he wants to run in the relay he must run the first leg to avoid danger to other athletes."
Pick Of Weekend Action
Today, 12.05pm, (all Channel 4)
Olympic champion and former world champion Christine Ohuruogu goes in the women's 400m heats.
Usain Bolt, Dwain Chambers and Marlon Devonish compete in the men's 100m heats. Justin Gatlin returns after a doping ban.
Oscar Pistorius – the first amputee athlete to participate in the World Championships – goes in the men's 400m heats.
Mo Farah takes on the unbeaten Kenenisa Bekele in the men's 10,000m final.
Usain Bolt is once again the odds-on favourite to win gold in the men's 100m final, but there are several Brits looking to grab a medal.
Latest in Sport
New day (slowly) rising – As Brasileirão gets underway, Brazilian football stumbles, rather than leaps into the future
The average Serie A crowd last year was 13,000 - comparable to Australia’s A-League.
by James Young
24 May 2013 04:31 PM
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
Dylan Hartley faces anxious wait on Lions ban
The Calvin report: Stirring Champions League final shows how far English game must advance
Borussia Dortmund 1 Bayern Munich 2 match report: Arjen Robben proves Mr Reliant for for Bayern
England's versatile quartet to replace old rearguard
Boxing: Revenge for Carl Froch with unanimous decision over Mikkel Kessler
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.