Inspiration: Double Amputee Oscar Pistorius Qualifies for Track & Field World Championships, One Step Closer to London 2012

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They say it couldn’t be done. But they were wrong.

Oakley’s own double amputee sprinter Oscap Pistorius qualified for coming the athletics World Championships in South Korea, throwing down his best-ever time in the 400 meter event last Tuesday in his last race before the cutoff date.

The inspiring South African – affectionately nicknamed “Blade Runner” – also moved a step closer to fulfilling his dream of competing in the 2012 Olympics after recording a personal best of 45.07 seconds at a small meet in the northern Italian town of Lignano.

The drama was definitely building. Oscar needed to run 45.25 — having never run faster than 45.61 — to qualify for the worlds (Aug. 27 in Daegu) for the first time.

“So tonight was the last night to qualify,” Oscar tweeted after the race. “Needed a 45.25 A standard, ran a 45.07sec! Thank you to my team.”

“Feels kind of surreal…To have an A-qualification time in the bag for next year’s Olympic Games!” he continued. “Thank you all the your support!”

The time put him on track to see his dream of competing at the Olympics and Paralympics in the same year – materialize…four years after he had to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to be allowed to compete against able-bodied athletes on his carbon-fiber blades.

“He’s over the moon,” his agent Peet van Zyl told The Associated Press. "I spoke to him before the race and told him ‘Listen, this is what it’s all about. This is what we fought the court cases for.”

Having achieved the "A’’ qualifying time, South Africa now has to pick Oscar for its team for the worlds and could also take him to the London Olympics, which he is also now eligible to compete in.

A true model of resilience, Oscar gained international fame when he tried to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He had to battle a ban by world athletics governing body the IAAF from competing in able-bodied races after his blades were deemed an unfair advantage.

Heading to the Court of Arbitration, he was cleared to run, but the legal process took a toll on his training and he didn’t come close to the qualifying time for Beijing.

Oscar is the world record-holder in the 100, 200 and 400 for disabled athletes, and a multiple gold medal winner at the Paralympics, but has long wanted to run against able-bodied athletes at the Olympics.

Having missed out on the qualifying time at meets in the Czech Republic, France and Diamond League events in New York and Eugene, Ore., this season, Oscar struggled to a time of 46.65 seconds in Padua, Italy, over the weekend. He looked way off the world championship qualifying pace.

It left him with the Lignano race to put down his fastest time. His final race in Budapest, Hungary, on July 31 is likely too close to the Aug. 1 cutoff for teams to be finalized for the world championships. In other words, he has a fighting chance.

And his recent triumph should do all the talking. In Lignano, Oscar blew away the field to win by more than a second ahead of Jamaicans Lanceford Spence and Michael Mason.
What makes this all the most amazing is his well-known struggle to get to where is he is now.

Pistorius only took up running as a teenager to help him recover from a Rugby injury. He started training with a coach in 2004 and set his first Paralympics world record three weeks later. Eight months later, he won his first Paralympics gold medal in Athens.

Originally from the South African capital Pretoria, Pistorius had his legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old because he was born without shinbones.

“My mother was someone who never pitied the fact that I had prosthetic legs,” he told the AP in an interview. “As far as she was concerned, the only difference between me and my brother was that my brother put his shoes on in the morning and I put my legs on — and that’s it.”

You can’t get much more inspirational than that.

Congratulations Oscar!

Author

Andrew De Lara

Date

July 26, 2011

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