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Oscar out to improve

Beijing Olympian Oscar Pistorius is taking longer than expected to find his best form after his February boating accident.

To this end, the double amputee will be looking for a marked improvement when he lines up in the 400m B-race at Friday’s Golden League track and field meeting in Oslo.

Last week Pistorius clocked 47.24sec for sixth place in Milan – only 0.04sec outside his season’s best – but manager, Peet van Zyl, said they had been hoping for a time a full second faster.

“We’re not happy because we were anticipating a time in the low 46-seconds,” Van Zyl told Sapa. “So it seems the boating accident has set him back more than we thought.”

Nevertheless, Pistorius gets an opportunity on Friday to improve his personal best of 46.25 when he lines up as one of the favourites in the B race. And Van Zyl is hoping he will be pushed to a career best time by 23-year-old Sudanese sprinter Ali Abubakr Nagmeldin.

Also a Beijing Olympian, Nagmeldin has a personal best of 44.93 from 2005 and clocked 46.26, his best time of 2009, when he finished second at the Primo Nebiolo meeting in Turin four weeks ago. Pistorius was sixth in that race, also in a season’s best 47.20.

Apart from Nagmeldin, however, Pistorius is unlikely to face stiff competition from the rest of the line-up, headed by 26-year-old Norwegian Kristoffer Nyhuus who set his career best 47.36 last year.

“The athletes that have been entered can most certainly help him to his best time if he keeps it all together in the race,” Van Zyl said.

But while the Pistorius camp were confident a couple of months ago that he could qualify for the one-lap sprint at August’s IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Berlin – the B standard is 45.55 – Van Zyl seems less assured following Pistorius’ slow recovery from his accident. “Only time will tell,” he said.