Blade Runner Pistorius hails 'dream race' after Olympic-qualifying run

• 'Blade Runner' beats 400m personal best by half a second
• Pistorious could now compete in 2012 London Olympics

Oscar Pistorius
The South African athlete Oscar Pistorius trains in the 2012 Olympic Stadium earlier this year. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

After running a world championship and Olympic-qualifying 400m time, the double amputee runner Oscar Pistorius claimed it was a "dream race", adding that he had "not been able to sleep".

With his final attempt the South African, known as Blade Runner because he runs with carbon fibre prosthetic running blades, qualified for next month's world championships by smashing his 400 metres personal best in Lignano, Italy on Tuesday.

Pistorius clocked 45.07 seconds to record a time inside both the world championships and 2012 London Olympics qualifying mark.

"It was just a dream race," Pistorius, 24, said. "I just have not been able to sleep. I must have 300 messages congratulating me. I am sure tomorrow when I wake up [the accomplishment] is going to hit me. It is really humbling to know I have gotten so much support from everyone."

The performance enabled Pistorius to become the first amputee sprinter to qualify for the world championships, which begin on 27 August in Daegu, South Korea His achievement was all the more dramatic as his qualifying time was recorded on the final day of eligibility for the South African team, he said.

"See you in Daegu' sounds so wonderful," said Pistorius, who had both lower legs amputated when he was 11 months old.

A multiple Paralympic gold medallist, the South African had sought for years to compete in the world championships and Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport gave him a chance in 2008 when it ruled in his favour after a long legal battle with the International Association of Athletics Federations over the use of his running blades, which the IAAF said gave him an unfair advantage. But after the CAS decision, he failed to record a time inside the Olympic qualifying mark and missed the Beijing Games. On Tuesday, those previous disappointments were forgotten.

"With 180 metres out, I just decided to set out for the end, and I really ran a very comfortable last 100 metres," Pistorius said. "It is kind of strange because I broke my personal best by half a second, which is ridiculous," he said with a satisfying chuckle.


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