Oscar betters Olympic qualifying mark
19 March 2012
Double amputee Oscar Pistorius bettered the Olympic 400 metres qualifying time at the Gauteng North Provincial Championships in Pretoria on Saturday, becoming the first South African athlete to achieve an Olympic qualifying time this year.
The 25-year-old crossed the line in 45.20 seconds, bettering the required mark of 45.30.
Pistorius said in a statement afterwards that he was "absolutely thrilled".
"This is a huge moment for me and I am trying to take it all in. The race went well and the conditions were perfect - I could feel every step of the way that my race plan was in motion, I felt strong out there and when I crossed the line and saw the time it was such a magical moment for me."
SA's Olympic qualifying requirement
Pistorius' place in the South African Olympic team is not yet secured. The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) requires athletes to run the qualifying standards at an international meeting after 31 March, and also compete in the South African Senior Championships in Port Elizabeth on 13 and 14 April.
Pistorius was part of the South African 4x400 metres relay squad that won a silver medal at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea in 2011.
Sunette Viljoen, a bronze medal winner in Daegu, threw an Olympic qualifying distance in the women's javelin at the Central North West Provincial Championships in Potchefstroom, also on Saturday.
In tough, windy conditions, Viljoen managed a distance of 61.42 metres. The A-standard for the London Games is 61 metres. Her mark was the eighth best so far in the world this year, although not much competition has yet taken place.
Viljoen holds the African record with a distance of 68.38, achieved at last year's World Championships.
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