"Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius runs dream race

Raleigh: With his final attempt, South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius qualified for next month`s world championships by smashing his 400 metres personal best in Lignano, Italy.

Pistorius, known as the `Blade Runner` because he runs with carbon fibre prosthetic running blades, clocked 45.07 seconds to record a time inside both the world championships and 2012 London Olympics qualifying mark.

"It was just a dream race," Pistorius, 24, told Reuters in a late night telephone conversation from Lignano.

"I just have not been able to sleep. I must have 300 messages congratulating me.”

"I am sure tomorrow when I wake up it (the accomplishment) is going to hit me. It is really humbling to know I have gotten so much support from everyone."

The performance enabled Pistorius to become the first amputee sprinter to qualify for the world championships, which begin on August 27 in Daegu, South Korea.

His achievement was all the more dramatic as his qualifying time was recorded on the final day of eligibility for the South African team, he said.

"`See you in Daegu` sounds so wonderful," said Pistorius, who had both lower legs amputated when he was 11 months old.

A multiple Paralympic gold medallist, the South African had sought for years to compete in the world championships and Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport gave him a chance in 2008 when it ruled in his favour after a long legal battle with the International Association of Athletics Federations over the use of his running blades, which the IAAF said gave him an unfair advantage.

But after the CAS decision, he failed to record a time inside the Olympic qualifying mark and missed the Beijing Games.

Tuesday, those previous disappointments were forgotten when he booked his place at the worlds and London Olympics with one final composed surge.

"With 180 metres out, I just decided to set out for the end, and I really ran a very comfortable last 100 metres," Pistorius said.

"It is kind of strange because I broke my personal best by half a second, which is ridiculous," he said with a satisfying chuckle.

Bureau Report

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