July 16, 2008 / 7:43 PM / in 11 years

"Blade-runner" Pistorius fails in Olympic bid

LUCERNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - 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 metres at next month’s Beijing Olympics.

Double amputee Oscar Pistorius of South Africa runs during the men's 400 meters at the international EAA athletics meeting in Lucerne July 16, 2008. Needing a time of 45.55 seconds to qualify for next month's Beijing Olympics, Pistorius, 21, failed to qualify finished third with a personal best time of 46.25 seconds. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer

Pistorius 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 seconds 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 4x400 metre 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.

“With enough practice I could have run a 45 (a sub 46 second race),” added the 21-year-old.

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

Pistorius succeeded in having the ban overturned by CAS which criticised 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’s qualifying deadline to July 17.

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

Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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