• London Olympics 2012

Pistorius fails to confirm London selection

ESPN staff
June 29, 2012 « Giovani set to depart White Hart Lane | Chartbeat test »

Double-amputee Oscar Pistorius looks set to miss out on competing in the 400 metres at London 2012 after agonisingly failing to meet South Africa's qualification criteria on Friday.

Pistorius, looking to make history by competing at the Olympic Games this summer, came into the final of the 400m at the African Athletics Championships needing to run a time of 45.30 seconds in order to be selected for the individual event at the Games - but could only manage a time of 45.52s to finish second and fall narrowly short.

Pistorius has achieved the Olympic 'A' standard already this year - running 45.2s in Pretoria in March - but the South African track federation want athletes to have run the standard twice, once at a major international meeting, in order to be selected.

Their selection window closes on Saturday - making Friday's final Pistorius' last chance to fulfil all the criteria. Unless there is a U-turn on the selection committee's part, then, Pistorius - known as 'Blade Runner' - looks set to be overlooked, despite having recorded the two fastest times in the event by a South African athlete this year.

A U-turn is not impossible, however - Pistorius is the only South African athlete to have achieved the 'A' standard even once in 2012, with his run on Friday still faster than the best recorded by his nearest rival, Ofentse Mogawane.

Regardless, Pistorius' speed means he is still likely to be included as part of the 4x400m relay squad, so will be seen in Stratford over the summer.

My race today felt good and I'm pleased to have won the silver medal at the African Championships," Pistorius said. "I am obviously disappointed that my time was just outside of the Olympic qualification time by two tenths of a second.

"I had felt very strong coming into this competition as my fitness and speed has been continually improving.

"I was in good shape to set the time and believe my speed will only increase over the next few weeks.

"I had a great early start to the season, setting the Olympic qualification time and I am hoping that there is still the opportunity for me to be selected to run for South Africa in the 4x400m relay."

The Pretorian reached the semi-finals of the 400m at last year's World Championships - becoming the first double-amputee to win a medal as part of the relay squad, although he was controversially left out of the team for the final after running strongly in the heats.

He has already been selected for the Paralympics later in the year, where he will defend his T44 100m, 200m and 400m gold medals.

Pistorius added: "I am also extremely excited about the Paralympic Games in London and a big focus for me will be defending my three titles as well as being part of the South African team competing for a world record in the 4x100m relay at the Paralympics."

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