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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Blade Runner bound for Perth Track Classic

Blade Runner bound for Perth Track Classic

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1 Blade Runner bound for Perth Track Classic on Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:34 am



'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorious bound for Perth

by Glen Foreman
The Sunday Times
December 10, 2011

PERTH looks set to play a major role in Olympics history with South Africa's "Blade Runner", Oscar Pistorius, a likely starter at the WA leg of the Australian Athletics Tour as he attempts to become the first sprinter with a disability to compete at a Games.

The Perth Track Classic will take place at the WA Athletics Stadium on February 11 and AthleticsWA chief Wayne Loxley said the sport's state and national bodies were doing everything in their power to snare twin-prosthesis 400m sprinter Pistorius.

"Every endeavour is being made to secure Oscar,'' Loxley said.

"I've had three, four discussions with them and we're hoping that he agrees to come to Perth and run against Australia's best, because there's no doubt he's an outstanding athlete.

"I'll be very disappointed if we don't get him, put it that way.''

Pistorius, who runs on carbon-fibre blades below his knees, became the first amputee athlete to compete at a world championships when a 45.07sec personal best qualified him for August's titles in Daegu, South Korea.

The 25-year-old reached the semifinals of the individual race and helped South Africa to the final of the 4x400m relay, before being controversially dropped from the team.

However, Pistorius' goal remains to compete an Olympics and London is now in reach for the runner.

The time that got Pistorius to Daegu also doubled as an Olympic qualifier, but his country's selection standards demand its 400m men achieve the sub-45.30sec benchmark twice.

That could result in Perth holding great significance for the South African, who would take on an Australian field including WA's Ben Offereins, young gun Steve Solomon and Beijing semi-finalist Sean Wroe.

AthleticsWA is also understood to be chasing top-shelf international competition for Olympic champion pole vaulter Steve Hooker and world No. 8 javelin thrower Kim Mickle.

"With the EventsCorp funding, from the government and TourismWA, it's in the contract that Athletics Australia has to secure several world-class international athletes,'' Loxley said.

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