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Amputee Pistorius' Olympic effort extended

26 June 2008

South African double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius has been given extra time in his bid to qualify for the Beijing Olympics in August.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in May that Pistorius, who runs with carbon fiber blades after both legs were amputated below the knee at the age of 11 months, is entitled to compete against able-bodied runners in Beijing.

Pistorius said Thursday he was confident he would appear in both the Olympics and the Paralympics.

"I had a meeting with Athletics South Africa and they were very accommodating and agreed to extend my cutoff date for qualifying to after my last Golden League race in Lucerne on July 16," he said.

The South African, winner of 200-meter gold and 100-meter bronze at the 2004 Athens Paralympics, needs to clock 45.55 to qualify for the individual 400 meters in Beijing. His personal best stands at 46.33.

"My chances are a lot more realistic of going to the Olympics with the relay team. I know I'm among the top 400 meters runners in South Africa and they have to choose five or six people for the team.

"Last year I finished second in the national championships and the guy who won is no longer running. I'm very close to being in the same shape now and only one South African has made the B-qualifying time for the 400 this year, so I would definitely say I'm in the top three."

Pistorius said he planned to run in meetings in Milan on July 2 and the Golden League events in Rome on July 11 and Lucerne five days later.

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