x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Oscar Pistorius to make history at World Athletics Championships

The South African athlete will become the first amputee to compete at able-bodied races when he runs in the 400m and 4x100m relay.

JOHANNESBURG // Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee runner, was selected by South Africayesterday to compete in this month's world championships.

Pistorius is set to become the first amputee athlete to compete at the able-bodied worlds after being chosen to represent his country in Daegu, South Korea, as its only runner in the 400 metres. He was also chosen for the 4x400m relay.

Pistorius, 24, was named in a group of 26 athletes by Athletics South Africa (ASA) after he smashed his personal best last month in Italy to make the qualifying time for the worlds and next year's London Olympics.

Women's 800m world champion Caster Semenya was also included and will defend the title she won in 2009 amid a storm of controversy over gender tests.

Eleven of South Africa's athletes will be going to the worlds for the first time, including Pistorius, who took his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to be allowed to compete in able-bodied events on his carbon fibre blades.

The International Association of Athletics Federations had banned the multiple Paralympic gold medal winner from able-bodied competition, saying the blades gave him an unfair advantage.

Pistorius was cleared to compete in 2008, but failed to qualify for that year's Beijing Olympics and the 2009 worlds in Berlin.

But, needing to run 45.25 seconds to make this year's worlds, Pistorius clocked 45.07secs last month in Lignano, Italy - his final race before the qualifying cut-off.

"We selected all those athletes who fulfilled the qualification criteria," James Evans, the new ASA president, said. "With 11 athletes competing for the first time at this level we are very clearly looking to 2012 and beyond."

The worlds will be held from August 27 to September 4.

Semenya was cleared to run last year after an 11-month layoff, but has struggled with a back injury and failed to reproduce the devastating pace she showed to win the 800m as an 18 year old two years ago.

Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, the men's 800m world champion, and LJ van Zyl, the 400m hurdler were also named to the team, as was Khotso Mokoena, the 2008 Olympic and 2009 world silver medallist in the long jump.

* Reuters