Double amputee Oscar Pistorius’s landmark Olympic campaign gained a reprieve yesterday as South Africa were given a place in today’s 4x400m relay final on appeal.
“IT’S ON!! We in the FINAL. Team management Protested as Ofentse was taken out and we have been given Lane 9!! @ljvanzyl to take his place!!!” tweeted Pistorius after he heard the news.
“Will be up on the 3rd leg tomorrow (Friday) for the Final! Really can’t wait”
Pistorius, 25, thought his adventure had come to an end when second leg runner Ofentse Mogawane fell on the bend into the home straight after tangling with Kenya’s Vincent Kiilu. Mogawane suffered a dislocated left shoulder.
While Kiilu said he had been spiked his team agreed he was at fault, having viewed the video evidence, after the organisers disqualified Kenya on account of Kiilu’s actions.
That prompted South Africa to appeal.
“The Jury of Appeal met and agreed to advance the South African team to the final, even though they did not finish the race, considering that they had been severely damaged in the incident with Kenya,” said the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in a statement.
“South Africa will run as an additional team in lane 9.”
Pistorius, who made history when he became the first double amputee to compete in the athletics at an Olympics in the 400m individual heats last Saturday, had summed up how disappointed he was after the heat.
“I can’t tell you how disappointed I feel. 11/10 if I had to give a number,” said Pistorius, who reached the individual 400m semi-finals.
Pistorius, who has been supported here by his 89-year-old grandmother who brought him and his two siblings up after their mother died 10 years ago, had only learned on the eve of the relay he would be running and also in his preferred third leg spot.
The South African, who had both his legs amputated below the knee before he was one, because of a congenital condition, had fought a long battle to be allowed to compete.
Pistorius competed in the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Paralympics.
He was given the green light for the Olympics following studies that found his prosthetics give him no advantage over his able-bodied rivals. — AFP