Pistorius plans to work harder

Oscar Pistorius admits he has a lot of work to do as he turns his focus towards next year’s London Olympic Games.

The Blade Runner finished eighth in his semifinal of the men’s 400m on an otherwise superb third day for the South African athletics team at the global championships in Daegu, South Korea, on Monday.

“Being one of the many athletes that’s been able to come out here has been a huge blessing,” Pistorius said of realising his dream of competing at the International Association of Athletics Federation World Championships.

“I think I’m a realist, and for me to make the final I would need to be running times that I have never done.

“I’ve got a lot of work I still need to do and challenge is a thing that we need.”

Playing fair
Pistorius, who made history when he set his second fastest time in the heats of his first global able-bodied competition, started slowly in the penultimate round and never recovered, trailing home in 46.19 seconds.

He said he would continue to use his performances on the track to silence his critics, with some sports scientists insisting he holds an advantage over able-bodied athletes.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport cleared Pistorius two years ago to compete with his carbon-fibre blades.

“It’s important for me to be running fair in my sport,” he said.

“I believe I’ve done that and would not be in the sport if I felt otherwise.

“I understand that there will always be critics and it’s a topic that is interesting and people will talk about.

“My job is to produce and train every day and stay consistent.”

South Africa finally shone after a slow first two days in Daegu, with Ruben Ramolefi improving his national record in the men’s 3 000m steeplechase in the morning session.

Ramolefi finished second in his heat in 8:11.50, qualifying comfortably for the final, and improved his national best, set a little over a year ago in Monaco, by 0.13 seconds.

Defending champion Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya was fastest of the qualifiers, holding off the South African to win the heat in 8:10.93.

“I told myself just to run comfortably and be rhythmic,” said Ramolefi, who controlled the race from the start.

“I didn’t try to be technical about it, I just trusted my body.” Ramolefi (33) is the eighth fastest this year of the 15 athletes in Thursday afternoon’s final.

No expectations
Former national champion Cornel Fredericks and South African record holder LJ van Zyl were both in good form in the heats of the men’s 400m hurdles, qualifying comfortably for Tuesday’s semifinals.

Fredericks (21) finished second in the fastest of five heats, but was given the same time—48.52 seconds—as Great Britain’s David Greene.

Van Zyl, the fastest in the world this year, won a tough heat in 48.58 to beat a field which included former Olympic gold medallist Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic and defending champion Kerron Clement of the United States.

“The first round was just to break the ice and I’m pleased to be in the semifinals,” Van Zyl said.

Wenda Theron, meanwhile, set a personal best in the heats of the women’s 400m hurdles, clocking 56.13 as the 17th fastest of the 24 qualifiers for Tuesday’s semifinals.

“I didn’t expect anything. I came here to run my heat as if it was my final,” Theron said.

“I didn’t expect to be in the semi, and now I am. That’s two goals achieved.”—Sapa