Pistorius left off relay, but gets medal

Pistorius left off relay, but gets medal

Published Sep. 1, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

Double amputee Oscar Pistorius made history Friday, becoming the first Paralympian to win a medal at an able-bodied world championships, despite being dropped for the final of the 4x400-meter relay.

His South African teammates went on to secure a brilliant silver in the race, narrowly missing gold to the US team, the defending world champion.

Pistorius earned his medal after running the first leg of the 4x400-meter relay in Thursday's heats, which helped his country to qualify for Friday night's final in Daegu, South Korea. Under IAAF rules, all athletes who compete in heats are eligible for a medal.

The American team of Greg Nixon, Bershawn Jackson, Angelo Taylor and LaShawn Merritt retained the men's title with a time of two minutes and 59.31 seconds, ahead of South Africa (2:59.87) and bronze-placed Jamaica (3:00.10).

The absence of Pistorius dominated the buildup to the race, with the athlete himself as surprised as anyone to be cut after delivering strong runs at the championships.

"Receiving a lot of questions I dont know the answers to," he tweeted Friday ahead of the final. "Have the 2nd fastest time in SA and ran a 45.3 this week. Was team managements choice. I wish my team mates all the best tonight, they all great sprinters and I hope they able to get on the podium!"

He broke the news of his exclusion earlier Friday morning.


"Haven't Been included in the Final for the SA Mens 4x400m. Pretty Guttered," he wrote. "Thats me for the @Daegu2011org World Champs! Gods blessed me! Semifinals in the 400m and a National Record in the 4x400m semi!Thank u all!x"

Popularly known as "Blade Runner" for his carbon fiber prosthetic running blades, Pistorius made history this week as the first amputee to compete at the worlds.

The 24 year old, who had both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old because of a congenital condition, made the semi-finals of the individual 400-meter race earlier in the meet.