London – South Africa's Oscar Pistorius says the world has not seen the best of him, after he achieved his goal of reaching the 400m semifinal at the London Olympics on Sunday night.
Pistorius bowed out of the race with his head held high as the capacity Olympic Stadium applauded his efforts against a world-class field.
The double-amputee, who made history as the first amputee to participate in a track event at the Olympic Games, came last in his 400m semi-final with a time of 46.54 seconds.
“My goal tonight was to make the semi-final and I was happy to do so,” Pistorius said.
“Just being out here with this crowd, I’ve said it was 75,000 people and it felt like 175,000... it’s been an unbelievable experience for me.”
One of the endearing images from Sunday night's action on the track was when Grenada's Kirani James, last year's world champion, and winner of the semi-final, exchanged race numbers with Pistorius.
“For Kirani to give me his number, it just shows you what kind of sportsmen we have at an Olympic Games like this and it shows you what the Olympic Games epitomises,” Pistorius said.
“We competed against Kirani and many of the other athletes for the last five years and many people don’t see what goes on and what happens behind the scenes.
“With about two hours before an actual race we are in call rooms and there’s very little words being said between athletes.
“There is a huge amount of tension and we are all nervous and very focused, but as soon as we cross the line, the human aspect comes back.”
Pistorius was cleared four years ago to run against able-bodied athletes, when the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned a ruling by the International Association of Athletics Federations that his blades gave him an unfair advantage.
While Pistorius had to endure questions whether or not his prosthetic blades gave him an advantage, his fellow athletes accepted him.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for each other and we know what we sacrificed to be here and for him (James) to ask me for my bib number just shows you what a gentleman he is,” Pistorius said.
“I look up to the guys that I ran against and will be shouting. I don’t know who to shout for... they are all such true gentlemen and we run against each other every week, three, four months of the year, so to come out here to compete against them is one of the greatest experiences of my life.” – Sapa