By Mark Etheridge
One of the final additions to Team South African for the Olympics in London later this year, Oscar Pistorius placed fourth in a 400-metre race in Belgium on Saturday night.
He was one of a handful of South African athletes competing on the European circuit.
The double leg-amputee is the first track and field athlete to compete in both the Paralympics and Olympics and he’ll run the 4x400m relay as well as the individual one-lap event.
Competing in the annual KBC Night of Athletics meeting in Heusden-Zolder, Pistorius clocked 46.28 seconds for fourth spot in the race. His personal best for the distance is 45.07, run last year while he ran 45.20 to run an A standard qualifying time in Pretoria earlier this year.
The race was won by home-town athlete Jonathan Borlee in 44.91.
Finishing just behind Pistorius was youngster Jacques de Swardt, who ran an A standard Olympic qualifying time of 46.06 in Europe earlier this year but failed to make the cut for the 4x400m relay squad.
De Swardt was fifth in 46.47.
Pistorius’ last trace event before London will be in Lignano, Italy on July 17.
He said on this Twitter feed after the race: Thank you for the support! Came 4th tonight but had an amazing time out there! Really remembered what its about! “
Also in Belgium, Hannes Naude took third in his 800m heat (1:48.76) and sprinter Thuso Mpuang was also third in the 200m (20.98).
Encouraging to see was former national 100m hurdles champion Rikenette Steenkamp running 13.82 to end sixth in her race after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
And in Madrid our sole medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Khotso Mokoena had an average return in the long jump.
Competing in the 30th Meeting de Atletismo Madrid, Mokoena was only able to leap to a best of 7.99 metres for sixth spot as Australian Mitchell Watts won in 8.26.
Mokoena’s silver medal effort in Beijing was an 8.24m.
Meanwhile at the Paris leg of the Samsung Diamond League on Saturday, world recordholder David Rudisha showed there are no doubts about his form going into the Olympic games as he blasted to the seventh fastest 800m run of all time, clocking 1min 41.54sec.
And in the 400m hurdles where South Africa has two representatives at the Games in LJ van Zyl and Cornel Fredericks, Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson won in 47.78, his second fastest time yet.
World champion Dai Greene was runner-up in 47.84sec.