LONDON - Oscar Pistorius says he is confident his fitness is where it should be for his Olympic Games debut in London on Saturday.
The South African sprinter will make history when he lines-up in the men’s 400 metre heats as the first ever amputee to participate at the able-bodied Games.
“I’m in good shape and feel really strong,” Pistorius said on Wednesday. “It’s easier for me as I’ve always run better at big events where I’ve been under pressure.”
Pistorius was initially included in Team South Africa as a member of the 4 x 400 metre relay team, but the country’s Olympic body, Sascoc, agreed to enter him in the individual event as well.
He said the niggling injuries which had made his early preparations difficult, were reflected in his erratic performances.
“We got to Europe and I wanted to run well,” said Pistorius. “But I fell asleep on one of the flights to Europe on the belt buckle of the plane, and it inflamed my hip.
“It was the stupidest thing but I struggled for two weeks to get it back to where it was.
“I couldn’t stand straight or even lift my leg and it just kind of killed my confidence in the first couple of races of the season.”
The 25-year-old ran a pedestrian 46.56 seconds in Lignano, Italy, last month but found his form at the African Championships, where he narrowly missed his second Olympic qualifying time by 0.22 seconds, setting a time of 45.52 seconds.
“When I went to the African Championships, I managed to perform and it was just the kind of confidence I needed,” he said.
“It was just to show me that after three days and three races I can still run a hard core mid-45 race.”
He said he believed the Olympic Games was the perfect stage for him to perform at his best as he relished the opportunity to race at major events.
“I’m in the right shape that I need to be,” he said.
Pistorius said the gold medal performances by swimmers Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh in the pool were the perfect confidence boosters for the team.
Van der Burgh won the gold medal in the men’s 100m breaststroke on Saturday, while Le Clos beat 15-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps to take first place in the 200m butterfly on Tuesday night.
“The two gold medals have given us that spirit that we needed at the beginning and we are very proud of Cameron and Chad,” Pistorius said.