By Tom Degun at the Olympic Stadium in London 

Oscar Pistorius_running_in_Olympics_London_2012_August_4August 4 - South African Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius made the perfect start at his Olympic Games debut qualifying for the semi-final of the 400 metres here today.

The 25-year-old (pictured) from Johannesburg made history as he stepped out on the track today when he became the first double leg amputee to compete in the sport of athletics at the Olympics.

The four-time Paralympic champion, dubbed the "Blade Runner" because of the shape of his prosthetic legs, looked nervous as his name was called out on the loud speaker, but he got a rapturous reception from the sold out 80,000 crowd.

The South African responded well to the hysterical cheers when he finished second in the 400m heat behind Luguelín Santos of the Dominican Republic in a time of 45.44sec to reach tomorrow's semi-final.

"I didn't know if I should cry or be happy," said an overwhelmed Pistorius following the race.

"It was such a mix of emotions as I was so nervous this morning.

"Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me.

"Thank you so much to my family – I saw my gran in the crowd.

Oscar Pistorius_semi_finals_August_4Oscar Pistorius makes history at the London 2012 400m heats

"It was the most amazing experience.

"This crowd is amazing.

"I've run so many times in the UK and it feels like a second home to me.

"I've got to thank my team, they trust me, I trust them.

"We've been together for nine years."

The result comes after Pistorius became the first amputee athlete to compete at the World Championships last year 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.

At that semi-final, Pistorius finished last and will be hoping for an improved performance tomorrow.

A spot in the final will take a monumental effort from him although he remains a serious medal contender in the South African 4x400m relay team, which takes to the track later this week.

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