Coe welcomes "Blade Runner" Pistorius to London 2012

LONDON Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:49pm BST

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius starts of the block on his way to win the gold medal in the athletics men's 400M T44 finals at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games September 16, 2008. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius starts of the block on his way to win the gold medal in the athletics men's 400M T44 finals at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games September 16, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Claro Cortes IV

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LONDON (Reuters) - South African 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius will be made welcome at next year's Olympics after achieving the qualifying mark this week, London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe said on Thursday.

Speaking before a Reuters 'Newsmaker' event, the 1980 and 1984 1,500 metres Olympic gold medallist said he looked forward to the double amputee competing at both the world championships in South Korea next month and the Games in London.

"We absolutely recognise that he is eligible in both and I am guessing he will want to (compete) and that's it. We will welcome him," said Coe, an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) vice-president.

Pistorius, who runs with carbon fibre prosthetic running blades after both his lower legs were amputated when he was 11 months old, clocked a 45.07 seconds personal best in the 400 metres at an event in Lignano, Italy, on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old's time was inside both the world championships and Olympic qualifying mark.

The first amputee sprinter to qualify for the world championships, which start in Daegu on August 27, Pistorius has fought a long legal battle with the IAAF over the use of blades.

The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in 2008 that he could compete.

"Those issues were teased out, the Court of Arbitration made their judgement and he's eligible to compete and we will make him very welcome," Coe told Reuters.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin)

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