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Mon Apr 21 16:54:34 SAST 2014

Can Oscar make Olympic cut?

DAVID ISAACSON | 02 July, 2012 07:230 Comments
Oscar Pistorius will know on Wednesday whether he is the the 4x400m relay team for the Olympics
Image by: Gallo Images

ALL eyes will be on the South African Olympic body, Sascoc, on Wednesday when it is due to announce the rest of the team that will invade London later this month.

Judging from the dearth of qualifying performances by South African track and field athletes at the African Championships in Benin at the weekend, one might assume there will be not too many additions to the 112-strong Team SA named last month.

Certainties include Khotso Mokoena (men's long jump), Anaso Jobodwana (men's 200m), Andre Olivier (men's 800m) and Troy Prinsloo (men's open-water swimming).

But the big question is: How lenient will Sascoc be when it comes to marginal competitors?

Will it pick Oscar Pistorius for the 4x400m relay? Surely it will, considering he is the fastest South African - with or without legs - over 400m this year.

Will the committee concede that there was an oversight on the decathlon qualifying criteria and let Willem Coertzen into the team? That was the fault of Athletics SA (it included decathlon in the category requiring two qualifying performances, instead of just one like the marathon and walking), but hopefully Sascoc will agree the athlete should not be penalised.

Judging from the team Sascoc announced last month, it is likely to include as many athletes as it can. It did, after all, pick the men's 4x200m freestyle relay team despite poor performances at the national trials by three of the swimmers.

There has been talk that Sascoc may also include some athletes and swimmers who did not officially qualify but who are considered prospects for the 2016 Olympics.

If it does, this could open the door for the likes of open-water swimmer Jessica Roux.

Perhaps in the build-up to 2016 Sascoc can keep track of these prospects so they don't fall through the cracks over the next four years. After all, it seems crazy that the cycling federation allowed Cherise Taylor, a veteran of Beijing in 2008, to fall out of contention for London.

It is tough enough getting to one Olympics; it's even harder making it to two.

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