Pistorius out of London, Mekhissi, Rupp win
The South African timed 45.52 seconds to win silver in the African Championships here on Friday, outside the qualifying time of 45.30sec.
The 25-year-old “Blade Runner” could, however, still compete in London as part of the South African 4x400m relay team.
“Thank you to everyone for your support! I came 2nd in the Final of the African Championships with a 45.52s. Was a rough week and I’m blessed,” Pistorius tweeted.
“Thanks to God, family, friends, coaching and management staff. 3 days of hard racing in rough conditions. Looking forward to the rest of ’12.”
Pistorius ran a season’s best of 45.20sec in Pretoria in March, but South African athletics officials demanded that athletes go under the ‘A’ qualifying mark again before Saturday’s deadline.
“My race today felt good and I’m pleased to have won the silver medal at the African Championships,” he said.
“I am obviously disappointed that my time was just outside of the Olympic qualification time by two tenths of a second, 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.”
Pistorius added that he hoped to feature in the relay team.
“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,” he said.
It was a disappointing result for the South African, who runs with carbon-fibre artificial ‘blades’ and was cleared to compete at top level in 2008 when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned a ruling by the IAAF that his blades gave him an unfair advantage.
Pistorius, who had both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old because of a congenital condition that meant he was born without fibulae — lower leg bones — also failed to qualify for the 400m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after being cleared by CAS to compete.
But he went on to compete at the 2011 world championships in Daegu, South Korea, where he made the 400m semi-final and won a silver in the 4x400m relay, although he did not race the final which left him venting his anger at South African officials.
Pistorius, a three-event defending champion, will also compete in the Paralympic Games, racing the 100, 200, 400 and 4x100m relay.
“I am also extremely excited about the Paralympic Games in London and a big focus for me will be defending my three titles as well as being part of the South African team competing for a world record in the 4x100m relay at the Paralympics.”
Mekhissi European steeple title
France’s Mahiedine Mekhissi retained his 3,000m steeplechase title at the European championships here on Friday.
The 27-year-old clocked 8min 33.23sec to take gold ahead of Turkey’s Tarik Langat Akdag (8:35.24) and Spaniard Victor Garcia (8:35.87).
Mekhissi won the Olympic silver medal in 2004 and was a bronze medallist at the 2011 world championships at Daegu, South Korea.
Garcia lost his battle for gold after falling at the final hurdle some 40m from the line and had to settle for bronze.
Earlier Germany’s Nadine Kleinert won the shot put with a throw of 19.18m.
Kleinert, 36, the Olympic runner-up in 2004, took the title ahead of Russia’s Irina Tarasova (18.91) and Italy’s Chiara Rosa (18.47).
Rupp beats Lagat at US Trial
Galen Rupp won his second title of the US Olympic Track and Field Trials, adding the 5,000 meters crown to his 10,000 triumph Thursday and shattering the meet record of legend Steve Prefontaine.
Two African-born runners, 2007 world champion and two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat and 2008 US Olympic flag bearer Lopez Lomong, are also set for London, where Rupp’s training partner, 2011 world champion Mo Farah, awaits.
“I look at it as a great opportunity,” Rupp said. “We’re both going (to London) to be up there for the medals. Afterwards, we’re still going to be friends.”
Rupp outfought Lagat over the last 100 meters to win in 13mins 22.67secs, breaking the 40-year-old meet record of 13:22.80 set by the late Prefontaine, an icon in track-mad Eugene who died at age 24 in a 1975 car crash.
“In London, I’m going to have to beat people in the last 100 meters,” Rupp said. “If you can’t do it here you won’t be able to do it in London.”
Lagat, a native of Kenya who began competing as an American in 2007, was second in 13:22.82 with Lomong third in 13:24.47, holding off Andrew Bumbalough for the last Olympic berth.
AFRICA CHAMPIONSHIPS RESULTS
1. Isaac Makwala (BOT) 45.25
2. Oscar Pistorius (RSA) 45.52
3. Willem De Beer (RSA) 45.67
1. Morton Amechi (NGR) 49.32
2. Mamadou Kasse Hanne (SEN) 49.39
3. Boniface Mucheru (KEN) 49.45
1. Taoufik Makhloufi (ALG) 1:43.88
2. Anthony Chemut (KEN) 1:44.53
3. Andre Oliver (RSA) 1:45.09
1. Abel Mutai (KEN) 8:16.05
2. Wilson Kipkemboi Maraba (KEN) 8:16.96
3. Benjamin Kiplagat (UGA) 8:18.73
1. South Africa 39.26
2. Nigeria 39.34
3. Ghana 39.40
1. David Kimutai Rotich (KEN) 1:32.06
2. Mohamed Ameur (ALG) 1:33.24
3. Hedi Taraaoui (TUN) 1:38.17
1. Victor Hogan (RSA) 61.80 m
2. Yaser Fathim Ibrahim (EGY) 59.61 m
3. Russel Tucker (RSA) 57.99 m
1. Amantle Montsho (BOT 49.54
2. Regina George (NGR) 51.11
3. Amy Mbacke Thiam (SEN) 51.68
1. Nigeria 43.21
2. Ghana 44.35
3. Ivory Coast 45.29
1. Rabab Arafi (MAR) 4:05.80
2. Mari Kuria (KEN) 4:06.22
3. Margaret Wangare (KEN) 4:06.50
1. Grace Wanjiru (KEN) 1:40.53
2. Olfa Lafi (TUN) 1:46.17
3. Aynalem Eshetu Shefrawe (ETH) 1:49.45
1. Blessing Okagbare (NGR) 6.96m
2. Janice Josephs (RSA) 6.29
3. Lynique Prinsloo (RSA) 6.22
1. Lissa Labiche (SEY) 1.86m
2. Anika Smit (RSA) 1.86
3. Rhizlane Siba (TUN) 1.75
1. Amy Sene (SEN) 65.55m
2. Laetitia Bambara (BUR) 65.08
3. Sara Ben Saad (TUN) 60.75