Johannesburg – Double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius described his inclusion in the South African Olympic team on Wednesday as “one of the proudest days of my life”.
“To have been selected to represent Team South Africa at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the individual 400m and the 4x400m relay is a real honour,” Pistorius said in a statement.
“I am so pleased that years of hard work, determination and sacrifice have all come together.”
The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) included Pistorius in the 125-member SA team as part of the 4x400m relay squad.
Despite narrowly failing to qualify in the individual 400 metres sprint, it was confirmed later in the day that he would also compete in his specialist event.
“I have run two Olympic 'A' standard times over the past 12
months,” he said.
“With the time I ran at the African Championships last week I know my speed and fitness are constantly improving so that I will peak in time for the Olympics.”
Pistorius clocked 45.52 seconds, finishing second in the men's 400m final at the African Athletics Championships in Benin last week and missing the Olympic qualifying standard by 0.22 seconds.
The 'Blade Runner' achieved the qualifying time for the first time at a provincial meeting in Pretoria in March clocking 45.20.
However, he needed to reach the mark again in an international meeting to meet the Athletics SA criteria.
Pistorius said he hoped to arrive in the English capital in his best form later this month.
“I have a phenomenal team behind me who have helped get me here and I, along with them, will now put everything we can into the final few weeks of preparations before the Olympic Games,” Pistorius said.
“I am aiming to race well, work well through the rounds, post good times and maybe even a personal best time on the biggest stage of them all.”
Pistorius made history at last year's World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, when he became the first amputee to win a medal on the track at the global championships as part of the SA 4x400m relay squad that clinched silver.
Pistorius will again make history in London as will be the first amputee to participate on the track at the Olympic Games.
“I am also hugely excited to then be competing to defend my three Paralympic titles at the Paralympic Games,” Pistorius said.
“I believe we will see some amazing times posted and I am very much looking forward to what will be an incredible Olympics and Paralympics in London.” – Sapa