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Pistorius reaches semifinals

Johannesburg - Double amputee Oscar Pistorius qualified for the men's 400m semifinals on the opening day of the African Athletics Championships in Cotonou, Benin, on Wednesday.

Pistorius clocked 46.32 seconds, according to Athletics SA officials, finishing second in his first-round heat, but he again fell well short of the 45.30 Olympic qualifying time.

(File image) Oscar Pistorius. Credit: Reuters

Having clocked 45.20 in Pretoria in March, he must set the standard again in an international meeting to satisfy South Africa's stringent qualifying criteria and book his place in the men's individual one-lap sprint at the London Games.

After struggling to achieve the standard on the European circuit in recent months, the African Championships offers his last chance, along with a host of other South African athletes, to qualify for the global sporting showpiece.

Pistorius lines up in the 400m semifinals on Thursday afternoon.

If he does not reach the qualifying mark in Benin, he is nonetheless likely to compete in the 4x400m relay in the English capital.

He 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. - Sapa

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