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Oscar Pistorius, a life-time challenge

Oscar Pistorius, on the picture in Rome's Meeting in 2008, is running to his dream : win a medal at Daegu's World championships from 27th august to 4th september / Panoramic

« I am leaving traces on the sand because I am unique » he said when he was still young. At that time, he was conscious…

Born in 1986 in Pretoria without a fibula, Oscar Pistorious was amputated on the limbs at just 11 months. Despite his invalidity, he desire to run has never stopped to exist. He runs with two carbon artificial limbs in the place of his limbs which have a spring at the level of the legs enabling him to create an impetus. As small setback with this is that Oscar loses time during the kickoff and has difficulties to turn at bends.

Brilliant in Handisport
He logically started in Handisports competitions. For his first major tournament, he represented South Africa at the 2004 Paralympic games and burst to the world stage. At just 18, Pistorious finished third in the 100m T44 category (a category comprising athletes with at least an amputated limb below the knee). He equally competes in the 200m. His fall during the qualifiers did not hinder him to bag gold during in the final in a space of 21s 97.
 His performances enabled him to aim at races among able athletes. In July 2005, the IAAF invited him to take part at a meeting of able athletes in Helsinki but due to his exams he could not take part. Despite all; his dream to run with the valid started to materialise.
After his exams, he returned to the tracks but finished sixth in the 400m at the South African Athletics championships. Just few details to regulate and two seasons later he finished second in the competition in 46s 56 and made himself a name in the world of athletics… he was nicknamed the “Blade Runner”. Oscar became unbeatable in handisport and continued grabbing victories and setting new records.
   100 m : 10s 91 (World record set on April 4, 2007)
-    200 m : 21s 58 (World Record set on March 5, 2007)

But his first international setback came in 2007: Oscar Pistorius did not record the minimum time required to qualify for the world athletics championships in Osaka, Japan-this was indeed a big disappointment for him.
Then, the IAAF authorised him to take part in competitions meant for the able. He therefore took part at the Sheffield meeting. A competition which served as a true test for him as he ran alongside the defending Olympic champion, America’s Jeremy Wariner.  On that day, he is disqualified for leaving his track and his performances did not enable him to contest with the world’s best. He still had a long way to go.

Apart from the experience gathered from his participation in a competition for the able, he equally won the public’s sympathy. But at the IAAF, Oscar Pistorious is a subject of debate. This is because his some feel his prosthesis give him an added advantage over the other athletes. At the Rome meeting where he finished second, the IAAF ordered Italian televisions not to broadcast the event to the world and sent some delegates to dissect his technique.

As the Beijing Olympic games approached, experts deliberated on his case and on January 14 2008, the IAAF made public the conclusions of the recommended report to the German Professor, Peter Brüggemann of the Cologne sports University. According to him, the fine fibre carbon prosthesis « Cheetax Flex-Foot » gives him an added advantage over the able athletes. “They offer a better elasticity and better tonicity on the track than the legs of the able athletes.” In other words, he can run at the same speed as able athletes by using just 25% less of energy. The IAAF therefore banned him from participating in competitions meant for the able. His dream is shattered but he is not demoralised.
Having the desire to participate at the Beijing Olympics, he appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and was authorised to take part. Despite the judicial authorisation, he did not take part at the Olympics, because he did not have enough time to prepare to get the minimum time.
Consequently, the South African athlete had to « console » himself with the Paralympic games where he grabbed three gold medals: in the 100m (11.17s), 200m (21,67s) and 400m (47.49s).
During his career in the handisports, he figured amongst the best with several records and medals to his account. He beat the 400m world on three occasions and twice the 200m.
400m – World Record 46.25s (2008) Lucerne Meeting (Switzerland)
800m – World Record 1’40”18 (2008) at the Pretoria Meeting.
In spring of 2008, things changed for him. He can again compete alongside household names in international athletics and make his dream come true.

World Championships: A “dream come true”
His dream ? Take part at the world athletics championships with the able and at the Olympic games.
On July 19, a part of his dream became true. The South African succeeded to qualify for the world athletics championships in Daegu, South Korea. An unexpected qualification which comes just at the nick of time (the last day of the selection). Oscar Pistorious recorded the minimum time in the 400m at Lignano Sabbiadoro in Italy in 45’’07.
With this time, he recorded the second best South African time for the Daegu competition. He is therefore a serious candidate to grab medals. He is the first Handisport athlete to compete amongst the able in an important competition.
Because he did not record the minimum time, he did not take part at big international events. From August 27 to September 4, the handisport star will have an opportunity to showcase his talent…

« Faster, higher, stronger » is his motto.

Winners’ medals in Handisport:

His world Records
100m – World Record 10.91s (2007)
200m – World Record   21.58s (2007)
400m – World Record   46.25s (2008) Lucerne Meeting (Switzerland)
800m – World Record  1’40”18 (2008) Pretoria Meeting.  

Beijing Paralympic Games
100m Gold medal (11.17s)
200m Gold medal with a paralympic record (21,67s)
400m Gold medal with new world record (47.49s)

Spitzenleichtathletik Meeting, Lucerne, Switzerland, able-bodied IAAF sanctioned meeting
 - 400m (46.25s) Personal Best time

May, South Africa Meeting, Pretoria
800m world Record – 1’40”18 (former record 1’41’11 held by Danish W. Kipketer)

June 1, Emmeloord Handisport games

Gold Medal – 100m
Gold Medal – 200m
Gold Medal – 400m

Senior South African National Championships – Open Category-able-bodied –Silver Medal –
400m and new world record (46.56s)

Visa Paralympics World Cup Manchester
Gold Medal – 100m
Gold Medal – 200m

IPC World Handisport Championships, Assen, Holland

Gold Medal 100m (11.32s)
Gold Medal 200m (21.80s) (new world record at the semi finals 21.66s)
Gold Medal 400m (49.42s) new world record)

South African Championships
6th world Record (47.34s)

Paralympic World Cup Manchester
Gold Medal – 100m
Gold Medal – 200m    

Police College
World Record  – 100m (11.72s)

AGN meeting

World Record – 100m (11.51s).

Signature : Kévin Sanchez

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