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Double amputee 'Blade Runner' makes the Worlds

The athlete at the centre of the debate about the use of prosthetics in sport has qualified for the Athletics World Championships after clocking a personal best in the 400m.

Blade Runner: Pistorius in full flow
Blade Runner: Pistorius in full flow
Image: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/Press Association Images

DOUBLE AMPUTEE SPRINTER Oscar Pistorius qualified for the athletics world championships, running his best-ever time in the 400 meters Tuesday in his last race before the cutoff date.

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

The 24-year-old Pistorius needed to run 45.25 — having never run faster than 45.61 — to qualify for the worlds for the first time. The championships begin Aug. 27 in Daegu, South Korea.

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

“He’s over the moon,” Pistorius’ 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 Pistorius for its team for the worlds and could also take him to the London Olympics, which he is also now eligible to compete in.

Pistorius 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, Pistorius 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 run 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 Lignano, Pistorius blew away the field to win by more than a second ahead of Jamaicans Lanceford Spence and Michael Mason.

“They have to pick him now (for the worlds),” Van Zyl said. “I knew this was coming.”

- AP

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