'Blade Runner' Pistorius misses qualifying mark for London 2012

 Oscar Pistorius in action during the National Championships for the Physically Disabled in Durban on March 27.

Story highlights

  • South Africa's 'Blade Runner' fails to set qualifying time for London Olympics
  • The 25-year-old falls short in 400 meters at African Championships, finishing second
  • He beat the qualifying time earlier this season but needed to do it twice to win a place
  • Pistorius still hopes to be selected for South Africa's 4x400m relay team

Oscar Pistorius' hopes of becoming the first disabled athlete to compete at the Olympics appear to be over after the man known as the "Blade Runner" failed to qualify for London 2012.

The 25-year-old will defend his three Paralympic titles in the UK capital in August, but he was not able to achieve the required 400 meters time for the able-bodied event at the African Championships on Friday.

His only hope is earning a place in South Africa's 4x400m relay squad, having clocked 45.52 seconds in finishing second in the final in Benin -- outside the 45.30 he needed to pass for a second time this season.

Botswana's Isaac Makwala won in 45.25, with Pistorius' compatriot Willem De Beer third in 45.67.

"I am obviously disappointed that my time was just outside of the Olympic qualification time by two tenths of a second," said Pistorius, who timed 45.20 at the Gauteng North Provincial Championships on March 17.

"I had felt very strong coming into this competition as my fitness and speed has been continually improving. I was in good shape to set the time and believe my speed will only increase over the next few weeks.

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    "I had a great early start to the season, setting the Olympic qualification time and I am hoping that there is still the opportunity for me to be selected to run for South Africa in the 4x400m relay."

    Pistorius made history when he competed at the 2011 World Athletics Championships in Daegu, reaching the 400m semifinals and then helping South Africa reach the final of the relay.

    He was omitted from the final, but received a medal for his earlier efforts when the team won silver.

    It represented a major breakthrough for Pistorius, who had to take legal action after athletics' ruling body the IAAF banned him from able-bodied competition six months before the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

    Born without fibula in both legs, he had double amputations as a child and needs carbon-fiber prosthetic limbs to race.

    The IAAF ruled that the blades gave him an unfair advantage, but he overturned that ruling -- though not in time for him to qualify for Beijing.

    Pistorius did compete in the subsequent Paralympic event, winning gold in the 100, 200 and 400m.