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Pistorius fails to qualify for Beijing 400

16 July 2008

Double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius said he was happy with his season's achievements on Wednesday despite missing out in his last bid to qualify for the 400 meters at next month's Beijing Olympics.

Pistorius, 21, set a personal best time of 46.25 seconds to finish third in a field of able-bodied athletes at the Spitzen Leichtathletik meeting in Lucerne but was 0.70 seconds short of the 45.55-second qualifying standard for the games.

"I said at the start of the season that I'd be extremely happy just to be running times I was comfortable with, whether I made it to the Olympics or not," Pistorius said after soaking up loud applause from the Swiss crowd.

"Tonight was certainly one of those times."

The South African athlete, who successfully appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for his right to compete with able-bodied athletes, said he was still hoping to be selected for his country's 4x100-meter relay squad.

"If you look at the individual time, it was always going to be a difficult task after only being back on the track for about nine weeks now, but there is still the relay.

"It's up to the [South African] federation, but I know there are one or two guys hoping to make the squad who have not done as good as 46.25 this year, so I'll just have to see when I get home."

Pistorius was controversially banned from competing in January by athletics' governing body the IAAF, which argued that the carbon-fiber blades he runs on gave Pistorius an advantage over able-bodied athletes.

Pistorius succeeded in having the ban overturned by CAS, which criticized the tests carried out by the IAAF to measure the runner's performance levels.

Following the announcement of the CAS verdict in May, the South African athletics federation agreed to extend Pistorius' qualifying deadline to July 17.

Pistorius said on Wednesday that he expected to hear the final decision on the relay selections by Sunday.

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