July 4 - Double-leg amputee Oscar Pistorius has achieved his dream of qualifying for the London 2012 Olympic Games after he was today named in the South African team for the both the individual 400 metres and the 4x400m relay.
The 25-year-old from Johannesburg, a four-time Paralympic champion, appeared to have missed out on qualifying for the individual 400m at the Olympics last week after he failed to run the required 45.30sec A standard twice in 2012 before the June 30 deadline.
But the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) has revealed that Pistorius is eligible for the 400m individual event, as well as the relay, because he has run the A standard time twice in the last 12 months.
Pistorius ran 45.20sec in South Africa in March this year and he ran a personal best of 45.07 last July in Lignano, Italy.
"Included in South Africa's 4×400-metre relay team for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Paralympic ace Oscar Pistorius will also be permitted to run the men's 400-metre race," said a SASCOC statement.
"That was confirmed by SASCOC chief executive Tubby Reddy in Johannesburg on Wednesday."
Pistorius, who himself thought he has missed out on an individual 400m spot at the Olympics, expressed his delight at the turn of events.
"Today is truly one of the proudest days of my life," said Pistorius.
"To have been selected to represent Team South Africa at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the individual 400m and the 4x400m relay is a real honour and I am so pleased that years of hard work, determination and sacrifice have all come together.
"I have run two Olympic A standard times over the past twelve months and with the time I ran at the African Championships last week [45.52sec] I know my speed and fitness are constantly improving so that I will peak in time for the Olympics.
"I have a phenomenal team behind me who have helped get me here and I, along with them, will now put everything we can into the final few weeks of preparations before the Olympic Games where I am aiming to race well, work well through the rounds, post good times and maybe even a personal best time on the biggest stage of them all."
Pistorius made international headlines last year when he became the first amputee athlete to compete at the able-bodied World Athletics Championships in Daegu where he reached the 400m semi-final and ran as part of the South African squad that secured silver in the 4x400m relay.
The relay team are likely to be serious gold medal contenders at London 2012 but even if they do claim a podium place, Pistorius will not be the first amputee athlete to claim an Olympic medal.
That distinction belongs to George Eyser, the German-born American gymnast who competed at the 1904 Olympics in St Louis.
Eyser competed with a wooden prosthesis for a left leg, having lost his real leg after being run over by a train, but he still managed to win six Olympic medals in one day in St Louis, including three gold and two silver medals.
Pistorius also follows in the footsteps of his South African compatriot Natalie Du Toit (pictured below), the single-leg amputee swimmer who competed in the open water marathon event at the Beijing 2008 Olympics before winning five gold medals in the Paralympics just over a month later.
Following the London 2012 Olympics, Pistorius will look to defend his titles in the T44 100, 200 and 400m at the Paralympics.
"I am also hugely excited to then be competing to defend my three Paralympic titles at the Paralympic Games," he added.
"I believe we will see some amazing times posted and I am very much looking forward to what will be an incredible Olympics and Paralympics in London."
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June 2012: Pistorius misses out on 400m individual spot at the Olympics
May 2012: Pistorius not so glorious after 400m crashing defeat in Ostrava
May 2012: Pistorius' blades could allow him to outrun able-bodied sprinters, fears Merritt
April 2012: Sir Philip Craven - Athletes must be given full credit in Paralympic sport, not their technology
March 2012: South African ruling means Pistorius not yet assured of London 2012 Olympic qualification