Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius became the first amputee to qualify for the 400 meters semi-finals at the World Athletic Championships in Daegu, South Korea. The South African athlete known as ‘Blade Runner,’ due to his carbon fibre prosthetic legs, finished third in his race at 45.39 seconds while running alongside able-bodied athletes.
The 24-year-old, who had both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old, came on strongly in the second half of the race and finished 0.1 sec behind winner Chris Brown, with Britain's Martyn Rooney coming in second.
Debate has raged whether Pistorius should have even been allowed to compete, as some argued that his carbon fibre blades gave him an advantage. However, support for him was palpable inside the stadium, with South African flags being waved and chants of 'We love Oscar' breaking out before he took to his blocks.
(Photo by EPA)
He described his landmark race as a “great relief” especially after the disruption of a false start by another runners. Pistorius said he had fulfilled a long-held ambition: “It was a great opportunity for me to have a chance to run, this is a goal I've had for many, many years. I really don't feel like a pioneer but I'm very honored to be in the position I am in ... I hope to write a few more chapters, I'm still young.”
(Photo by Reuters)