Blade runner needs 2nd qualifying time to make Olympic team
South Africa's Pistorius trying to become 1st amputee to run at able-bodied Games
Oscar Pistorius must run another 400-metre "A" qualifying time in the three months before the London Olympics to make history as the first amputee athlete to run at an able-bodied Games, South Africa's Olympic Committee said Wednesday.
Clarifying its 2012 qualifying criteria, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee said that the double-amputee athlete had not yet qualified despite running inside the "A" time in July — which earned Pistorius an historic place at the world championships in Daegu, South Korea.
"Oscar would have to satisfy the 'A' qualifying criteria as is for able-bodied athletes within the stipulated time period, which I think is within three months of the Games," SASCOC chief executive Tubby Reddy said of Pistorius' mission to make the Olympics.
"Within three months of the Games, if he runs that time he qualifies. Many people have said he has run that time already however he has not qualified," Reddy told reporters.
Pistorius ran a personal-best 45.07 seconds on his carbon fibre blades at a small meet this year in northern Italy, the only time he has gone under the 45.25-second qualifying mark for the July 27 - Aug. 12 London Olympics.
He clocked 45.39 in the 400 heats at the worlds in Daegu and then 46.19 to finish last in his semifinal, missing out on a place in the final.
While not referring directly to Pistorius, SASCOC President Gideon Sam said South Africa did not want to take any "flash in the pan" athletes to the Olympics.
"The criteria works like this: to avoid a situation of a flash in the pan, you make the time, but you have to show evidence that again you can make that time," Sam said, adding that only a handful of South African rowers, a canoeist and the country's women's football team were already certain of competing in London.
"There's opportunities up to July next year for all the other athletes. And there will be more of them," Sam said.
Sam said South Africa's Olympic body had tightened its criteria after several swimmers made qualifying times just once before the 2000 Sydney Olympics and then put in disappointing performances at the Games.
"We have to stick to our guns," he said.