Oscar Pistorius to become first amputee to compete in the Olympics

 

Oscar Pistorius will become the first amputee sprinter to compete in the Olympics after being selected for South Africa's 4x400 metres relay team.

Double amputee Pistorius, known as the 'Blade Runner' due to the prosthetic carbon fibre limbs he uses, narrowly missed out on a place in the individual event by just 0.22seconds last week.

But Pistorius, who will also compete at the Paralympics, was today named in a 13-strong group of athletes by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee that completes their team for London 2012.

The news is a huge boost for 25-year-old Pistorius following his disappointment in the individual competition.

He had already clocked an Olympic 'A' standard time earlier this year but was unable to reach the mark again in an international meeting, as stipulated by the national federation's qualifying rules.

Needing a time of 45.30secs in the African Championships in Benin on Friday, he managed 45.52s in his second-placed finish.

Tweeting after receiving the news today, Pistorius said: "Today is really one of the happiest days of my life! Will be in London2012 for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games!

"Thank you to everyone that has made me the athlete I am! God, family and friends, my competitors and supporters! You have all had a hand!"

Pistorius has already made history when competing at the 2011 World Athletics Championships in Daegu.

He was part of the 4x400m team there, but was left out when they won silver in the final.

Pistorius was banned from competing alongside able-bodied athletes just before the 2008 Olympics - a ruling he later had overturned.

The rest of today's inclusions - which take the final South African Olympic squad to 125 - were swimmers Troyden Prinsloo, Jessica Roux, Darren Murray and Trudi Maree, Khotso Mokoena (long jump), Anaso Jobodwana (200m), Andre Olivier (800m), Willem Coertzen (decathlon) and Lehann Fourie (110m hurdles).

Unveiling the final team members, SASCOC president Gideon Sam said: "Finally, we have a complete squad.

"It's taken four long years of work but now we can concentrate on doing our best at the Games. The preparation has been done and now it's up to our athletes to take over in London and show us what they're made of.

"As I have said many times before, we are not taking passengers to London. Everyone has met selection criteria and are genuine Olympic Games material, either now or for 2016. I wish them all the best."

PA

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