Oscar Pistorius given another chance to run as South Africa win relay appeal


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The Independent Online

Oscar Pistorius today expressed delight at being handed a chance to add to his medal collection after South Africa were given a place in the 4x400metres relay final on appeal.

Pistorius was due to run the third leg in this morning's heats but did not even get his hands on the baton after team-mate Ofentse Mogawane collided with Kenya's Vincent Mumu Kiilu around the top bend on the second leg.

Both athletes were sent sprawling to the track and although Kiilu was able to resume running, Mogawane suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder and could not carry on.

The Kenyan team were disqualified and South Africa lodged a successful appeal which saw them added to tomorrow's final in lane nine. LJ van Zyl will replace Mogawane in the quartet.

"IT'S ON!! We in the FINAL," double amputee Pistorius wrote on Twitter. "Team management Protested as Ofentse was taken out and we have been given Lane 9!! Thank you Lord! Emotional roller coaster!"

Pistorius won a silver medal in the relay at the World Championships in Daegu last year, although he was not selected for the final after running in the heats.

Speaking of the incident, before the appeal was made, Pistorius said: "I was standing there and I took my eyes off the screen and kept them on the straight and obviously just as I took them off it must have happened.

"He's not the biggest of guys and initially I thought he was maybe pushed in behind someone and then I just carried on looking and he didn't come out. It's really tough at the moment. I feel sorry for my team-mates, they're a phenomenal group of guys.

"It's just really disappointing for us because we came off a second place at the World Champs last year and a national record and we've got more or less the same team."

As for his own experience of the Games, Pistorius added: "It's been absolutely phenomenal, just stepping out there again today on the track in front of a crowd like this has been awesome.

"This whole experience has just been mind-blowing for me, I can't describe it in so many words, I'll be speaking for days."

The Bahamas and the United States were the fastest qualifiers after being given the same time of 2:58.87 in heat two, ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and Great Britain who were also given the same time of 3:00.38 in heat one.

Elsewhere, it took almost two hours to determine the 12 qualifiers for Saturday's final of the women's high jump.

With 14 athletes still in contention when the bar was raised to the automatic qualification standard of 1.96m, lively discussions started between athletes and officials to determine if the additional height would be required to make the cut.

After careful study of the standings, all seven athletes without a failure decided to pass as they were guaranteed to be in the top 12, with three athletes with only one failure doing the same.

That left four women battling for two places and former world junior champion Svetlana Radzivil of Uzbekistan cleared 1.96m at the first attempt to book her place. Germany's Ariane Friedrich and Greece's Adonia Steryiou had three failures at 1.96m, leaving Russia's Irina Gordeeva to advance courtesy of having just one failure against Friedrich's two at 1.93m.

World record holder Ashton Eaton will take a 222-point lead into the remaining two events of the decathlon after responding well to the challenge of team-mate Trey Hardee.

Eaton began the second day with a 220-point lead over Hardee, but after the pair ran almost identical times in the 110m hurdles - Eaton 13.56 and Hardee 13.54 - world champion Hardee closed the gap to just 99 points with a superb throw of 48.26m in the discus compared to 42.53m from Eaton.

However Eaton hit back to clear 5.20m in the lengthy pole vault competition to restore his comfortable cushion as Hardee could only manage 4.80m.

The javelin and dreaded 1,500m take place this evening.