WHAT do Oscar Pistorius, Lionel Messi, Barack Obama and Goodluck Jonathan have in common?
They are part of a group a Time magazine readers poll considered the most influential in the world.
The Paralympic sprinter is the only South African on the annual Times 100 list of influential people in the world. Nigerian president Jonathan and Gambian lawyer and International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda are the other Africans on the list.
Pistorius, 25, is in the company of powerful people, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Also on the list is NBA sensation Jeremy Lin, who plays for the New York Knicks.
On the Time website, writer Sean Gregory described the Blade Runner as the “definition of global inspiration”.
“What’s possible in athletics? Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter from South Africa, and his effort to compete against able-bodied runners in the 400m and 4x400m sprint events at the 2012 London Olympics, make the answer clear: absolutely anything.”
He went on to say that although the Olympics committee “tried to confine Pistorius to the Paralympics, he kept pushing his limits and the limits of the human body. Now he’s won the right to compete against the world’s best”. Pistorius is trying for a qualifying time for the 2012 London Olympics.
He competed in the able-bodied event at the 2011 IAAF World Athletic Championships.
Yesterday on his twitter account, @OscarPistorius, he said: “Thank you to everyone for the support and kind words today for the #Time100 #MostInfluential. I’m blessed for the support you all give.”