Friday, September 26, 2008

Oscar Pistorius eyes 2010 Commonwealth Games

From in The Independent in Capetown, South Africa:

South Africa's Paralympics hero Oscar Pistorius will get only a few weeks' rest before starting to train again.

His main focus will be the IAAF world championships in Berlin next year, the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, and the London Olympic Games in 2012 where he has set his sights on competing against able-bodied athletes.

He has already tested his strength in the 400m against the likes of Olympic champion Lashawn Merritt and Athens 2004 gold medallist Jeremy Wariner (both
from US) - two months ago.

'Both sprinters are in a league of their own'"For the next two to three years my goals will be to prepare myself for the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics," said Pistorius on Wednesday."I've already run against Merritt and Wariner. Both sprinters are in a league of their own."

Pistorius has just returned with the triumphant South African team from what was a brilliant display by him at the Paralympics in Beijing. Pistorius won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 400m events.

"It's the first time since last December that I have taken time off athletics and training," he said. "It's a strange feeling to wake up early in the morning and I don't have to go to gym; it's really nice to be back home."

The Blade Runner, which is Oscar's nickname, said he had missed many home comforts.

'The team did very well and really raised the bar'"I missed my friends and family and spending time relaxing with them is a good feeling," said the fastest man with no legs.
Having won his case against the IAAF at the Court of Sport Arbitration (CAS) to compete against able-bodied athletes, Pistorius unfortunately did not make the time to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.But he made up for it with his scintillating performances at the Paralympics.

"It was quite rough not making the Olympics, but the Paralympics were coming up and I had to train hard for two-and-a-half months," said Pistorius.

Winning the 100m race at this year's Paralympics meant a lot to him, after missing out on a gold medal in Athens in 2004.In the 100m Pistorius made a slow start, falling 6m behind the other sprinters, but he made a powerful surge forward to claim gold ahead of American Jerome Singleton.

"I can't say one gold medal means more to me than another, but the 100m gold did - everything in that race is so precise and powerful," said Pistorius."As I crossed the line Singleton also dipped in. I only saw later I had beaten him and the victory gave me a lot more confidence for the rest of the Games."

Pistorius said receiving the 200m gold where he broke the Paralympics record was amazing, because there were 91 000 people watching. The Beijing Games were the best he has participated in so far.

Pistorius won three gold medals at the Paralympics, which were part and parcel of Team South Africa's 21-gold medal haul, but he also touched on the thorny issue of the treatment the team got from Sascoc on arrival at the Games.

"The team did very well and really raised the bar high - it was a mind-blowing performance", he said." "(But) there is a difference between addressing an issue and resolving it, and the latter has not been done."

The double amputee said sponsors did their job well, but the administration side of things had been embarrassing.

Despite these minor issues, the team were able to perform at their peak and give South Africans plenty to cheer about.

Pistorius, who has gained iconic status in athletics, said it was about putting his mind on what he wants to achieve and giving 100-percent of himself.

"When I do something I don't want to look back and regret that I hadn't given it my all ," he said. "It's best to give it your all from the onset, then you will have no regrets."