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Blade Runner ready to roll

South Africa’s ‘Blade Runner’┬á sprinter Oscar Pistorius is on the comeback trail in Manchester this weekend as he looks to qualify for the 2009 IAAF world track and field championships in Berlin later this year.

Pistorius is in action at the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester and will run two races on Sunday.

Difficult to comprehend when one considers he was extremely lucky to survive a horrendous boating accident on the Vaal River in March.

The double-amputee athlete has made a miraculous recovery and is going flat out to reach the target to qualify for the 400 metre event (45.55sec for the A standard and 45.95sec for the B standard).

The 22-year-old’s personal best to date is 46.23sec.

‘We are working quite hard towards Berlin and I want to get in some competitive races before that in Europe and hopefully the times will come down,’┬á Pistorius said from Manchester this week.

After failing to make the qualifying times for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Pistorius turned his attention to the Paralympic games a month later and came back triumphant with three gold medals, in the 400, 200m and the 100m, the last-mentioned being the most difficult test.

Also on his schedule are Golden League meetings in Oslo and Rome as well several other lower-key events in Europe. All of this part of his long-term four-year cycle which will hopefully culminate in the 2012 Olympics in London.

‘ I have been training hard over the past couple of months and am delighted to have made a full recovery from the accident,’ he said.

ÔÇ£The Manchester event is such a crucial event in my development and I’ve done everything I can to be back to full fitness. I thank the team around me, including my coach and BT for their support and am really looking forward to Sunday’s competition, where I ‘ll race the 100m as well as the 400m, which is being held for the first time.ÔÇØ

Going back to the accident and Pistorius was in a coma for three days, after losing just under three litres of blood.

His head smashed into the boat’s steering wheel and he required 180 stitches in his face, his jaw was broken, several ribs were broken, and his eye socket was smashed.

‘I really thought it was all over,’ he said. ‘I had massive fears at the time, especially the first two days. I was in a coma, and then I came out and there was a lot of swelling in my face, I spoke to the doctors and they put it into perspective for me. They told me how many bones were broken and how serious the injuries had been. By all accounts, I was very lucky.’

He added: “In general my head is strong again, and as soon as I could, I was back on the track. I still had breathing difficulties when I started training because my sinuses had been badly damaged.

‘ I had my jaw wired until four weeks ago, chewing was a problem on my high protein diet which was painful. I ate an awful amount of baby food! But when I look at it now, it was a big impact and being able to come back as quickly as I have has been like a miracle.’