UPDATE 1-Olympics-Pistorius fails to qualify for S.Africa team

Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:29am EDT

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CAPE TOWN, July 18 (Reuters) - South Africa's double amputee runner Oscar Pistorius has not qualified to compete against able-bodied athletes at next month's Beijing Olympics.

"He failed to qualify," said Athletics South Africa president Leonard Chuene after the final athletics team members were named at a news conference in Johannesburg on Friday.

"The selection of the team was very simple, the fastest times were taken," he added.

In his last opportunity to qualify for the 4x400 metres relay team, Pistorius failed to better the 400m qualifying time of 45.55 seconds at a meeting in Lucerne this week.

Pistorius, who uses a pair of carbon-fibre blades to run, began competing against able-bodied athletes in 2007.

However, the sport's governing International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) banned him from competing against able-bodied athletes in January after ruling that his prosthetics gave him an unfair advantage.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) lifted the ban in May but the lull in Pistorius's training left him without enough time to regain top form.

He will compete in the 100, 200 and 400 at the Beijing Paralympics. Pistorius holds world records in all three events.

(Reporting by Zelim Nel, editing by Ken Ferris)

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