South African star Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has proven how sharp his "blades" are when he powered to his second athletics gold medal Saturday at the Beijing Paralympics.
Oscar Pistorius of South Africa celebrates after winning the final of the men`s 200 meter T44 classification event at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games in Beijing on September 13, 2008.[Agencies]
Unlike in the 100m race in which he came from behind to win the gold in the last second, the "Blade Runner", nicknamed for the carbon fibre blades he wears, amazed a huge cheering crowd when he stormed to the 200m finish line in 21.67, nearly a second clear of silver winner Jim Bob Bizzell from the United States.
"This race is definitely going down as one of my best ever races. I`ve never run in front of a crowd this big and just the crowd, the athletes, it was an awesome race and I couldn`t have hoped for anything better," he said, calling his win a "good memory".
The double amputee and the world record holder in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter events, Pistorius now has his third and last race, the 400m, to run on Tuesday. He is targeting a world record.
"I will definitely try for gold in the 400m," the South African said. "I am looking forward to the 400m because it is my strongest event. If everything goes right, I should run a decent time."
After his two impressive wins, no one is betting against his fulfilment of triple-gold dream in Beijing.
"I think he could run faster. Maybe he could reach 45 or 46 seconds (the world record is 51.24 seconds)," said Jim Bizzell. If there is someone to break Pistorius` record, it should be Pisorius himself, he said.
Pistorius, born without a fibula and anklebones and had both his legs amputated when he was only 11-month-old, made a sensation at the Athens Paralympics in 2004 when the 17-year-old, with the aid of his blades, won the gold medals in the 100m and 200m races.
But what made him more famous than his disabled peers and a most applauded figure at the Bird`s Nest in Beijing was the his blades and his court battle for his rights to take part in the Olympics Games.
In 2007, Pistorius took part in his first international able-bodied competitions. However, his artificial lower legs, while enabling him to compete, generated claims that he has an unfair advantage over able-bodied runners.
The same year, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) amended its competition rules to ban the use of "any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels or any other element that provides a user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device".
After monitoring his track performances and carrying out tests, scientists took the view that he enjoyed considerable advantages over athletes without prosthetic limbs. The IAAF ruled him ineligible for competitions for able-bodied athletes, including the Bejing Olympics.
Though the decision was reversed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in May this year, Pistorius eventually failed to qualify for the Beijing Games, blaming in part the distraction of his court battle. But he is eyeing the London Olympics in 2012.
Pistorius said he insists in competing in Olympic Games because the Games offer him one more choice to better his performance. "The distance never changes but the field does. I want to be pushed to better my own times but I could never choose between the Olympics and Paralympics," he said.
Though missing the Beijing Olympic Games was regretful and the London Olympic is still a distant dream, Pistorius was now enjoying his Beijing glory. Competing in the Beijing Paralympics is also part of his goal, he said, adding he was happy to compete against athletes who are strong both in life and competition at the Beijing Paralympics.