Big Apple beckons Oscar | TeamSA - TeamSA

Big Apple beckons Oscar

Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius is closing in on the top qualifying standards for the able-bodied world championships this summer.

The 24-year-old commonly known as “Blade Runner” ran a personal-best time of 45.61 seconds during a 400-metre race in Pretoria last month, giving him the “B” qualifier for worlds in Daegu, South Korea. For now though the “A” qualifying time of 45.25 has eluded him but remains within his reach, under the right conditions.

Associated Press reports that double-amputee Pistorius, who runs on artificial blades attached to his lower legs, hopes to receive just that push racing against Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York on June 11.

More than winning, though, Pistorius, wants to lower his time in his first major meet in America, especially against competition that’s “a little bit daunting for me.”

“I’m hungry for a quick race,” Pistorius said in a teleconference on Tuesday. “I’d rather come in last in a race and run my best time than win a race and run a bad time.

“I think that might be the case in New York. Nevertheless, I’m very grateful to have a lane in the race and I’m working extremely hard.”

Pistorius finished seventh in the 400m semi-finals at the Yellow Pages championships in Durban, last weekend, turning in a time of 47.40 and failing to reach the final.

However, his recent time of 45.61 at the interprovincials in Pretoria only served to heighten his hopes of competing against able-bodied athletes at this year’s worlds and the 2012 Olympic Games.

“It’s about 478 odd days until the Olympics. So every day I try to go to bed knowing that I’ve trained harder than any of my competitors,” Pistorius said. “I feel like I’m in the best shape. I’ll do my best and run my best.”