Rivals praise sprinter Pistorius

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius competes in the Men's 400m heats

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius competes in the Men's 400m heats

First published in National News © by

Rivals of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius spoke of their respect for the sprinter who made history by becoming the first double amputee to race in the Olympics and Paralympics.

London's packed Olympic Stadium roared their support as Pistorius, dubbed the Blade Runner due to his prosthetic legs, ran 45.44 seconds to finish second in his heat and move in to the semi-finals.

Grenada's Kirani James, 19, who won the second heat, said: "He is out here making history and we should all respect that and admire that.

"I just see him as another athlete, as another competitor but most importantly as a human being, another person."

Any talk of Pistorius potentially getting an advantage because of the technology in his running is not issue that troubles James.

He said: "I have a lot of respect for the guy and for what he does."

Pistorius was beaten by Luguelin Santos, 19, of the Dominican Republic who said: "I know Pistorius was the focus of the race but I love him and he is a good racer."

After coming off the track Pistorius, 25, said: "I was so nervous this morning. Thanks to everyone for showing their support. I didn't know whether to cry. I had a mixture of emotions. It was the most amazing experience, the crowd was amazing. I saw the South African flag. I've run so much in the UK it feels like my second home."

He had looked set to miss out on a place in the individual event at the Olympics after failing to run a second 'A' qualifying time to gain automatic selection.

He fell agonisingly short at his final attempt in July, but was selected for his country's 4x400m relay team - in which he won a silver medal at the World Championships last year - which meant he could be selected for the individual event.

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