Pistorius still short of qualifying for Olympics

Double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius missed out in another attempt to qualify for the Olympics on Friday, but sliced nearly a second off his 400m time from last week.

The South African finished in 46,62 seconds to place seventh in the 400m B race at the Golden Gala meet on Friday. He needs to run a 45,55 to qualify for the Olympics.

Last week in Milan, in his first able-bodied race in nearly a year, Pistorius ran a 47,78. His lifetime best is 46,36.

Pistorius resumed training less than two months ago after a sports arbitration court ruled that he was eligible to run in Beijing.

The court overturned a decision by the IAAF that Pistorius’s carbon-fibre prosthetics gave him an unfair advantage and that he should be banned from the Olympics and any other able-bodied race.

On Sunday, Pistorius plans to run a 200m race in Lignano, Italy, “for fun”, to work on his sprinting, then will make perhaps his final Olympic attempt in Lucerne, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

Pistorius has struggled to regain his form after spending most of 2008 away from training to concentrate on fighting the ban, which was lifted May 16.

His most realistic shot to compete in the August 8 to 24 Beijing Games could be as part of South Africa’s four-man relay, for which six team members are chosen.
Pistorius’s manager, Peet van Zyl, said he might be able to qualify for that with a time of 46,1 or 46,2, depending on how the other runners fare.

Either way, Pistorius plans to race in the September 6 to 17 Paralympics in Beijing—then focus on qualifying for the 2012 London Games.

Pistorius was born without fibulas—the long, thin outer bone between the knee and ankle—and was 11 months old when his legs were amputated below the knee.—Sapa-AP

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