Artificial legs help Pistorius accomplish running feat

South African is set for 2 events in London

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Pistorius ran a personal-best 45.07 seconds last year and opened this season with a 45.20 - both Olympic-qualifying times.

But he needed another 45.30 or better at an international meet before last Saturday to seal a spot in the 400, according to his national Olympic committee’s regulations. He missed it by less than a quarter of a second in his final qualifying race at the African Championships.

“I have run two Olympic ‘A’ standard times over the past 12 months and with the time I ran at the African Championships last week, I know my speed and fitness are constantly improving so that I will peak in time for the Olympics,” he said.

After he missed out on his second required Olympic qualifying time, the South African Olympic committee and Athletics South Africa appeared certain to overlook him in the 400. They had insisted throughout the season that they wouldn’t relax their tough qualifying criteria for Pistorius.

But the late-season burst at the Africans, which also won him a silver and his first major individual medal in an able-bodied race, may have pushed officials to include him.

“Since he’s going to be there [in London], our decision is he can run both,” Olympic committee chief executive Tubby Reddy told the Associated Press. “There’s no reason why he can’t. Our decision is he can.”

Pistorius always has maintained a place in the 400 final at the Olympics was his ultimate career goal, even before he had to take his case to sport’s highest court to be allowed to compete against able-bodied athletes on his blades. Some still argue they give him an unfair advantage but he was cleared in 2008 and has never looked back.

“I have a phenomenal team behind me,” said Pistorius, promising to put everything into his final preparations for London and what’s likely to be his career pinnacle.

“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. I am also hugely excited to then be competing to defend my three Paralympic titles at the Paralympic Games. I believe [we] will see some amazing times posted.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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