South African double amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius had twin cause for joy on Wednesday after being told he could run in the 400 metres and the 4x400m relay at the Olympics.
Confirmation that he would become the first amputee to compete at the Games came with his inclusion in the relay team, and a few hours later the national Olympic committee did a u-turn and agreed to him also running in the individual event.
Athletics South Africa (ASA) convinced Olympic body SASCOC that Pistorius should compete in 400m despite bettering the 45.30-second qualifying time only once instead of twice as demanded.
SASCOC chief executive Tubby Reddy said his body “did not have a problem with that” and a day to remember for the 25-year-old Pistorius was complete. His selections come five days after conceding defeat in a battle to run in the 400m as he finished 0.22 of a second outside the qualifying mark of 45.30 seconds when finishing second at the African championships in Benin.
Pistorius did clock 45.20 at a meet in Pretoria last March, but could not repeat the feat at an international meet, a requirement for selection in the South African team.
But his sadness turned to joy as South Africa finalised the squad for London by choosing a relay team including Pistorius, Willem de Beer, Ofentse Mogawane and Shaun de Jager. “Today is really one of the happiest days of my life. I will be in London for both the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games,” Pistorius tweeted.