BRUSSELS — Double amputee Oscar Pistorius wants to prove before the London Olympics he can run any part of a 4×400 relay and should not be held back by concerns his carbon fiber blades would endanger others in the race.
South Africa agreed to let Pistorius run only the opening leg of the relay at the world championships in South Korea, and he was left off the quartet that won the silver medal in this month’s final.
Pistorius was the leadoff runner in the semifinals, helping set a South African record. He received a medal as a team member even though he did not run in the final.
Pistorius is convinced he would stand a better chance of making the top South African relay team if he were allowed to run any of the four legs, especially because he set the second-best time of all South Africans this season.
“Ultimately, I’d be better utilized or more efficient at the second or third position during the relay,” he said Tuesday in Brussels, where he will run in the individual 400 meters in Friday’s Van Damme Memorial meet.
Pistorius is known for a slower start out of the blocks, and he would benefit from a running relay exchange later in the race.
At the world championships, the South African federation chose him only for the leadoff leg because letting him run in the pack would have prompted a technical safety review.
“It was four, five days before the relays. It was not a time to start arguing then,” Pistorius said.
Now, he has plenty of time before next year to make his point.
During the South African track season early next year, he said, it will be his “responsibility” to run different legs in several relays as in previous years to show he is not a danger to other runners.
He said he still did not understand why the South African team kept him out of the Daegu final even though he was his nation’s second-fastest 400 runner this season.
“For some reason, and that is for them alone to answer, I have no idea why they made that decision,” Pistorius said. “In a relay, you replace the slowest guy with the fastest guy. You don’t replace the second-fastest guy.”
He does not fault any teammates. One day after the four finalists stood on the medal stand in Daegu, runners Ofentse Mogawane and Willem de Beer went to Pistorius with his medal.
“They thanked me for the role I played in the semifinal,” Pistorius said. “That was probably the nicest gesture that they could have made.”
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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