LONDON (Reuters) - Double amputee Oscar Pistorius expressed surprise on Wednesday that he had been left out of the South African 4x400 metres relay team who won silver at the world championships in Daegu last week after he had run in the first round.
Pistorius, the first amputee to compete at the biennial world championships, ran the first leg when the South African quartet set a national record in the semi-finals. He was replaced by 400 metres hurdles bronze medallist LJ van Zyl in the final.
“After the final I looked at it in two respects,” Pistorius told Britain’s former world high hurdles champion Colin Jackson during a question-and-answer session at a London hotel.
“I was surprised I didn’t get to run, I really felt I deserved to according to the times I ran in the semi-final. But I’m really happy for my team, they’re phenomenal guys.”
Pistorius, who finished last in his 400 metres semi-final in Daegu, was cleared to run at the championships after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over-ruled an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ban.
He now plans to compete in next year’s London Olympics as well as running in the 100, 200, 400 and 4x100 relay in the Paralympics.
The 24-year-old South African has polarised opinion with some critics saying his prosthetic blades give him an unfair advantage. He had both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old after he was born without a fibula in either limb.
“As far as I’m concerned the ones (blades) that I am using have been tested and proved to have no advantage,” he said.
“Some of the top scientists in the world have tested the prosthetic legs and these are the guys who have come back and said there is no way a prosthetic leg can provide an advantage.
“I’m used to it now, for every five percent of people that criticise me 95 percent of people support me.”
Pistorius said it was a misconception to think he had a bad relationship with the IAAF.
“I believe they weren’t out to get me, they have a responsibility when it comes to the sport,” he said.
“I think unfortunately due to the limited amount of data they received they made a decision that was ill-informed and when we came back with all the testing that we’d done and presented it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport the right decision was made.
“They (IAAF) have accepted that decision so we have moved on from that and I have a very good relationship with them.”
Now Pistorius will concentrate on getting the qualification time that will allow him to complete in London after he failed to qualify for the final in Daegu.
“There will definitely be a huge sense of relief if I can get that qualification time,” he said.
Pistorius attributed his success this year in reaching a qualifying time for Daegu to losing weight and running the first part of the race faster.
“This season I have done it like most of the other guys do and run it hard on the first 200 and then died in the last 100,” he said.
“I think ultimately if you want to move from 46 seconds to 45, you can’t be scared of the race.”