‘Blade Runner’ makes SA Olympic team

2012-07-04 14:49

Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius will become the first amputee to compete at the Olympics after he was named alongside Ofentse Mogawane, Willie de Beer and Shane de Jager in the 4x400m relay team.

Pistorius immediately tweeted :“2day is really 1 of the happiest days of my life! Will be in @London2012 for the Olympics and Paralympics.”

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) also revealed today that Hezekiel Sepeng, the 1996 Olympics silver medallist, will manage the South African athletics team at the Games.

Sepeng will be assisted by accomplished track and field coaches Terseus Liebenberg, Hennie Kotze and Gerrie Coetzee.

Those who were added to the track and field team, according to today’s announcement, were 110m hurdler Lehann Fourie, 200m ace Anaso Jobodwana, long jumper Khotso Mokoena, decathlete Willem Coertzen and 800m runner Andre Olivier – all in the individual events.

De Jager has been selected ahead of the injured Shane Victor, who, together with Pistorius, Mogawane and De Beer, won a silver medal at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, last year.

Their time of 2:29.21, a new national record, propelled South Africa to the second place in the rankings of the 4x400m teams.

Only the top 16 nations were guaranteed berths at the Olympics.

Track and field athletes who were named in the initial team last month were Caster Semenya (800m), LJ van Zyl, Cornel Fredericks (both 400m hurdles), Sunette Viljoen (javelin) and Marc Mundell (50km race walk).

The marathon team consists of Lusapho April, Stephen Mokoka, Coolboy Ngamole, Rene Kalmer, Tanith Maxwell and Irvette van Blerk.

Following the final team announcement today South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) CEO Tubby Reddy said: “We were consistent in our selection. We didn’t apply one rule for one sport and a different one for another sport. We followed the procedure.”

The selection criteria for athletics and swimming were that athletes must obtain the A-standard time at two events and one must be international.

Darren Murray, Trudi Maree, Troyden Prinsloo and Jessica Roux were named as the final additions to the swimming team.

Also added to the aquatics squad are Cedric Finch, Wayne Riddin and technical analyst Ryan Holdien.

Sascoc also named Patience Shikwambana as Chef de Mission to London.

The team will leave for the UK on July 19 after their farewell banquet with President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria the previous night.


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