Oscar Pistorius racing the clock to qualify for Olympics
NEW YORK (AP) -- Oscar Pistorius is racing the clock and the calendar.
The "Blade Runner" needs to post a qualifying time in the 400 meters by the end of the month to make the South African team for the London Games and become the first double-amputee to compete at the Olympics.
He probably has three more chances to do it, the first of those coming Saturday at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York City.
Pistorius must finish in 45.30 seconds or better again at an international meet. He ran a 45.20 in his home country in March but has struggled since starting his season in Europe. His personal best on his carbon-fiber blades is 45.07, set last year.
"In the beginning of the year, you always start your season off with great physical form, but you get racing fitness from confidence. Unfortunately, the first couple of races weren't what I wanted," Pistorius said Friday. "I have to toughen up now and just run the race I need to run, and that I can run. I've shown I can do that, shown myself I'm capable of running those times."
If Pistorius doesn't meet the standard Saturday, he plans to run in a small meet in France or Belgium in two weeks. His last chance would likely come at the African Championships at the end of the month.
Pistorius has been bothered by a spasm in his hip since he slept on it wrong during a long flight to Italy before the meet in Ostrava, Czech Republic, last month. He said he was "stupid" to try to sprint in training too soon after getting off the plane.
Pistorius ran a 47.66 in Ostrava and a 46.86 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., last weekend. He said he's felt much better in practice this week.
Pistorius ran a 45.69 at the Adidas Grand Prix last year.
"Obviously, I'd like to obtain the time as quick as possible," Pistorius said. "Tomorrow is about just getting back into my rhythm and running a good race. I feel strong again.
"I'm pretty sure that should happen. I ran well here last year in the rain. If we have good weather, I'd like to run quick again."
Saturday's Diamond League meet on Randall's Island, east of upper Manhattan, features reigning world champions including Yohan Blake in the men's 100, Carmelita Jeter in the women's 100, and David Rudisha in the 800.
The 25-year-old Pistorius was confident coming into the year that he would post a qualifying time after "we put in the hardest preseason." He is disciplined in his diet and even his casual activity, making sure he doesn't walk too much after a race to ensure recovery.
It used to be excruciating to sit across the table from somebody drinking a milkshake, but that's easy now because he's so focused on his goals. Pistorius eats almost no sugar and lots of vegetables, joking that "I've eaten more of those in the last year than I have in the 24 years before."
But so far all that work, all that dedication have not shown up when it matters on the stopwatch.
"I want to reward myself for the hard training I've put in and the sacrifices I've made," Pistorius said. "That's the way I need to think about it."
Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.