Oscar Pistorius to prove relay point before London 2012

Submitted by SAPA on 14 September 2011 - 1:16am

Double-amputee runner Oscar Pistorius wants to prove before the London Olympics that he can run any leg of a 4x400m relay and should not be held back by concerns his carbon fiber blades would injure other athletes running in a pack.

South Africa agreed to let Pistorius run only the opening leg of the relay at the world championships in Daegu and he was left off the South African quartet which won silver in the final early this month.

Pistorius ran the leadoff leg in the semifinals, helping set a South African record, and received a medal as a team member even though he missed 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 since he set the second-best time of all South Africans this season.

"Ultimately I'd be better utilised or more efficient at the second or third position during the relay," he said on Tuesday in Brussels, where he will run in the individual 400 metres 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 since 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.

After that, he will approach team officials and say: "Look, I have run relays this year without any incident. Would you consider letting me run in another leg?" Pistorius said.

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 of his teammates. One day after the four finalists stood on the medal stand in Daegu, runners Ofentse Mogawane and Willem de Beer came 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."