tough road for 'blade'

While South African newspapers were celebrating "Oscar's Beijing victory" after his Olympics ban was lifted on Friday, double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius has conceded that it will be "extremely difficult" for him to qualify for the Games.

While South African newspapers were celebrating "Oscar's Beijing victory" after his Olympics ban was lifted on Friday, double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius has conceded that it will be "extremely difficult" for him to qualify for the Games.

"In all honesty, it will be extremely difficult to qualify for Beijing," the 21-year-old athlete, dubbed Blade Runner because he runs on carbon-fibre blade prosthetes, told the Sunday Times.

On Friday the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rekindled the South African's dreams of Olympics glory after ruling he was eligible to race against able-bodied athletes.

Pistorius, who was born without the fibula in his lower legs, went to the court to challenge a ban imposed by the International Athletics Federation (IAAF), which said his Cheetah blades gave him an advantage over able-bodied athletes.

He now has only two months to shave nearly a second off his best time in the 400m in order to automatically qualify for the Games. His best time is 46,44 seconds. A time of 45,55 seconds is needed for automatic entry.

Pistorius is due to start training in Pretoria today after spending much of the year to date on the court case, he told the paper.

Downplaying his chances of a Beijing qualification, Pistorius said: "At least the door is open for the future - I can run in able-bodied meets. There will be world champs next year, the 2012 Olympics." - Sapa-DPA

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