By Mark Etheridge
Not even a season’s best was enough to stop our 4×400-metre relay team from being blown away in the Olympic final on Friday night.
The team had received a second chance after their heat due to an infringement by Kenay in the heats on Thursday but that didn’t help the cause of Shaun de Jager, Willie de Beer, LJ van Zyl and Oscar Pistorius as they ended last in 03min 03.46sec.
The man adjudged to have been impeded in the heats, Ofentse Mogowane was ruled out of the race with a shoulder injury after he had been sent tumbling by a Kenyan opponent.
The decision meant that double-amputee Pistorius got to compete in his first Olympic final after having reached the semi-finals of the men’s flat 400m where he had hoped for a seasons’ best while De Beer finally got his chance to strut his stuff after not having being part of the heat action.
Hurdler LJ van Zyl, knocked out of the 400m hurdles in the first round after a battling season, was called in to the squad to make up for Mogawane’s absence.
“I was kind of distraught and unhappy yesterday, I think this is a good opportunity to thank Ofentse,” Pistorius said. “He’s not here with us, he’s been a phenomenal athlete, he’s worked for four years and he’s been a big part of our team as well.”
After Mogowane’s injury, Van Zyl who was on his way home from the Games, had to be called in to stand-in for his injured team-mate.
The Bahamas beat favourites the United States for gold in 2:56.72 ÔÇô it took a national record for them to win. The US finished 0.33sec behind in a season’s best with Trinidad and Tobago getting the last podium placel.