March 19 - Four-time Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius (pictured) must wait until he is assured his spot at the London 2012 Olympic Games due to a ruling in South Africa which means he must better the A-qualifying standard time in the 400 metres once more.
The 25-year-old double leg amputee from Johannesburg ran 45.20sec on Saturday, which is inside the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) A-qualifying standard of 45.30, to win his race at the Provincial Championships for Gauteng North in a selection event for the South African National Championships.
It comes after Pistorius ran a personal best of 45.07 last July in Lignano in Italy.
But despite bettering the qualifying time twice, each year's qualification process starts anew which means that Pistorius has to better the 45.30 mark one more time after March 31 – at an international meet – to be eligible for selection for the South African Olympic team.
The ruling was agreed upon by Athletics South Africa and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).
"He [Pistorius] still has to run the qualifying standard at an international meeting after March 31 as agreed with SASCOC and also compete at the SA Senior Championships in Port Elizabeth on April 13-14," said an Athletics South Africa statement.
Pistorius appeared unaware of the ruling immediately after running 45.20 on Saturday as he said: "I am looking forward to hopefully being confirmed by SASCOC as a member of the South African Olympic team and I will do everything I can to train and prepare to the best of my ability and I would be proud to compete for my country at the Olympic and Paralympic Games."
However, given that the continually improving Pistorius has run the time so early in the season, it appears highly likely that he will achieve the qualifying criteria before the South African Olympic team is selected.
"If you want to go to the Olympics, you have to be in form anyway," said Pistorius' agent Peet van Zyl when discussing having to achieve the time once more outside South Africa.
"We know he can do it."
Should he make it to the Olympics, Pistorius will become the first amputee athlete to compete on the track at the Games.
It would follow his success of last year when he became the first amputee athlete to compete at the able-bodied World Athletics Championships at Daegu in 2011, where he reached the 400m semi-final and ran as part of the South African squad that secured silver in the 4x400m relay.
Pistorius will also be looking to run in the T44 100, 200 and 400m at the Paralympic Games less than one month after the Olympics, where he is the defending champion and world record holder in all three disciplines.
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