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Paralympian Pistorius eyes Berlin worlds

DOUBLE-AMPUTEE sprinter Oscar Pistorius hopes to compete against the top stars at the World Championships in Berlin and has given himself a punishing schedule as he returns to the track after a boating accident.

After failing to make the qualifying times for last year's Beijing Olympics, the South African athlete won three gold medals in the Paralympics a month later. Now Pistorius has again set his sights on taking on the best able-bodied athletes and, in a bid to make the qualifying times for the August 15-23 worlds, will run at Golden League meets in Oslo and Rome as well several other events in Europe.

"We are working quite hard towards Berlin and I want to get in some competitive races before that in Europe and hopefully the times will come down," Pistorius said from Manchester, where he is competing this week in the Paralympic World Cup. "I hope to qualify for the 400 meters but also the relay."

Pistorius is chasing a qualifying time of 45.95 for the individual 400, for which his personal best is 46.23. The relay time he needs is 45.55.

"I would like to enter the individual one and we don't have any sub-45 runners in South Africa and it's going to be quite hard to qualify for the relay," Pistorius said.

Pistorius' preparations for this season were jolted when he crashed his boat in February in South Africa. "It's slowed me down a little bit but I'm very lucky and feeling pretty good," he said.

Now Pistorius faces tough opposition as he competes in Manchester for the first time since the crash. "I'm just running the 100 and the 400," he said. "It's definitely good to have an extremely good level of competition with a lot of the top Americans deciding to come over and it makes it much harder."


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