at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – South African Oscar Pistorius paid tribute to his late mother on Saturday saying that without her instilling solid values in him he would never have achieved his dream of competing at the Olympics.
The 25-year-old was speaking after he made history by becoming the first double amputee to compete in an athletics event at the Olympics.
Pistorius, who trumped the moment by also qualifying for the 400 metres semi-finals, was watched in the stands by his 89-year-old grandmother, waving a South African flag, whom he saluted warmly.
But he admitted his thoughts had turned to mother Sheila, who left an indelible mark on him before she died 10 years ago.
“I thought about my mother a lot today,” said Pistorius, who fought a long battle to be allowed to compete at an Olympics running on his carbon fibre blades.
“She was a bit of a hardcore person. She didn't take no for an answer.
“She always said the loser isn't the person that gets involved and comes last but it's the person that doesn't get involved in the first place.”
Pistorius, who has had little contact with his father Henke since his parents divorced when he was a young boy, said that the abiding maternal principle was 'don't start anything unless you see it through'.
“The mentality we've always had is that if you start something you do it properly,” he said.
“The passion that you start something with, you finish it off with.
“I've always looked at that with my training and I guess that's what makes me a good athlete. I love training, I love working hard, I love being dedicated towards something and that's definitely her spirit.”
It was his mother and father who took the traumatic decision for Pistorius to have both his legs amputated below the knee before he was one, because of a congenital condition.
Pistorius, who has competed at the 2004 and 2008 Paralympics, admitted in the past that his mum had a carefree side too, no more so than when she died and her will was published.
“Fifteen is a tough age to lose your mother,” he told The Guardian newspaper last year.
“It's strange. In her will she said we must throw a party when she passed away and so we did.”
“We celebrate her every year but we (him and his brother and sister) make an issue of not calling each other that day and being all morbid.
“The way we handle her loss is that we're more grateful for the time we had with her. My father wasn't around much when we grew up. I saw him seldom - and it's the same now. He lives and works very far from me on a dolomite mine.” – AFP