Tag Archives: carbon

Stoke fans refuse to back Tony Pulis

'Staying up' but Stoke fans still not potty about Pulis despite QPR win

By
Simon Cass

PUBLISHED:

22:00 GMT, 21 April 2013

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UPDATED:

07:01 GMT, 22 April 2013

The chants of ‘We are staying up’ rang out from Stoke City’s fans after the club was rescued from the drop at QPR’s expense.

But there were no songs of support for manager Tony Pulis, despite Stoke almost certainly assuring Barclays Premier League football for a sixth season.

Pulis’s relationship with Stoke fans is suffering because his side scores under a goal a game.

Taken for granted Tony Pulis has established Stoke in the Premier League

Taken for granted Tony Pulis has established Stoke in the Premier League

So something has to give, whether that be a change of manager or a change in their manager’s approach if next season is not to be a carbon copy of this one.

Pistorius ready to begin training as murder suspect visits Pretoria training base

Pistorius ready to begin training as murder suspect visits Pretoria training base

By
Associated Press

PUBLISHED:

17:56 GMT, 3 April 2013

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UPDATED:

07:14 GMT, 4 April 2013

Oscar Pistorius wants to train again and recently went back to visit his regular track in South Africa’s capital.

There was still no decision on an exact time-frame for the multiple Paralympic champion’s return to regular running, but Pistorius told his agent Peet van Zyl and coach Ampie Louw at a Tuesday meeting that he was 'definitely keen to get back on track to resume training,' the agent said.

'When, exactly, is his choice,' Van Zyl told AP on Wednesday.

Granted: Oscar Pistorius was freed on bail after being charged with the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Granted: Oscar Pistorius was freed on bail after being charged with the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Pistorius had also revisited his practice track in Pretoria on March 24, although he didn’t train, the agent said.

Pistorius last trained on a track over two months ago, and his last competitive race was his victory in the 400m final at the London Paralympics in September last year.

Van Zyl said Pistorius wasn’t ready 'mentally' to compete yet after he was charged with murder in the February 14 shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home.

'From our meeting, it was clear and evident it’s going to take some time for him (to be ready to compete),” Van Zyl said. 'He’s trying to process this whole ordeal.'

Pistorius had also told his agent and coach that he would only consider running at the world championships in Moscow in August if he was in the right shape to run at the top level again.

'He (Pistorius) stated to me clearly yesterday, for the world champs, first he needs to be in some form,' Van Zyl said.

Back on track: Pistorius is keen to make a return to training, according to his agent

Back on track: Pistorius is keen to make a return to training, according to his agent

Still, Pistorius’ first significant move toward a return to the track on his carbon fiber running blades came at the meeting with his management team at the home of his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, on Tuesday night.

The 26-year-old Olympian has been staying at the house in the eastern suburbs of Pretoria since he was granted bail on February 22.

Victim: Steenkamp was shot dead in Pistorius' Pretoria apartment

Victim: Steenkamp was shot dead in Pistorius' Pretoria apartment

Pistorius denies murdering Steenkamp and says he shot her accidentally after mistaking her for an intruder in his house.

Prosecutors have charged him with pre-meditated murder and say he intentionally shot Steenkamp multiple times after the couple argued in the early hours of Valentine’s Day.

His next court appearance is on June 4.

Pistorius had visited his training track at the University of Pretoria with some other athletes, but hadn’t worked out properly, only doing a little jogging, Van Zyl said.

Although a high court ruling last week eased Pistorius’ bail restrictions on appeal and allowed him to travel to compete, Van Zyl said it would still take time to be ready for track meets.

'He hasn’t trained at all since the incident and you can’t expect him to go into competition. More important, mentally he is not there yet, he is some way off,' the agent said.

Long-time coach Louw, who discovered the double amputee’s talent for running when he was still a teenager, was eager, however, for the athlete to get back to training to help his mental process.

'Ampie was quite keen for him to start training as soon as possible so Oscar can get into some kind of routine,' Van Zyl said.

Oscar Pistorius shooting: How the South African icon was driven by anger

Icon who fell to earth: Poster boy Pistorius had scars that ran so deep

During an interview with Oscar Pistorius in Pretoria last year, our conversation turned to how the South African’s prosthetic legs affected the way he runs. Pistorius had been training on the grass track at the city’s university and it was striking that he moved in an ungainly, fidgety way.

He shifted his weight from side to side when he was not running. Those 2,600 carbon-fibre blades defined him as one of the most iconic athletes on the planet, but they looked cumbersome; painful even.

Questions turned to how being a double amputee impacted on his training regime. How was he able to compete with rivals who were born with fibulae, the bones that connect your knees to your ankles

Historic: Oscar Pistorius in Olympic action in London last year

Historic: Oscar Pistorius in Olympic action in London last year

Pistorius’s oft-repeated argument for his inclusion in able-bodied athletics was ‘there are tens of thousands of people using the same prosthetics I use and there’s no-one running the same times’, but what made Pistorius different from the rest

When asked what it would mean to become the first double amputee to run at the Olympic Games, a remarkable feat he duly achieved some five months later, it was clear he was irritated. Suddenly, the mild exterior of one of sport’s most famous faces clouded over. Pistorius became fractious and prickly.

‘It’s pretty similar to any other athlete,’ said Pistorius. ‘I think it’s a reward for any athlete, after years of training, to progress to a competition like that.’

In the spotlight: Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria

In the spotlight: Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria

In the spotlight: Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria

He was not being modest, just evasive. Pistorius, after all, was not just ‘any athlete’. He redefined what it is to run fast. He challenged the traditional perception of what a sprinter looks like.

Inspirational is a word too often attached to athletes, but it is a description that accurately reflects what Pistorius has achieved on a 400metre track.

His parents took the decision to have his legs amputated below the knees when he was just 11 months old, yet he became a symbol of battling against adversity, recognised across the globe.

No fear: Pistorius poses for Sportsmail's Andy Hooper last year

No fear: Pistorius poses for Sportsmail's Andy Hooper last year

The speed of Pistorius’s rise to prominence has only been beaten by the swiftness with which he has fallen since reports came in of the shooting in the early hours of Thursday morning.

In 2007, the IAAF, athletics’ governing body, said Pistorius’s prosthesic limbs gave him an unfair advantage but he fought the ruling and saw it overturned the following year.

He did not just challenge legislation, however, he transcended athletics and certainly Para-athletics, testing ideas and dividing opinion about what is right and wrong and acceptable in competitive sport.

Happier times: Oscar Pistorius had been with girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp for a couple of months

Happier times: Oscar Pistorius had been with girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp for a couple of months

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE BLADE RUNNER

Born November 1986 without the fibula, the bone that connects the knee to the ankle, in each leg. Has both legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday.

January 2004 Takes up athletics, initially to recover from a rugby injury.

June 2004 Receives his first pair of Ossur Flex-Foot Cheetah legs, Pistorius’ blades.

August 2004 Wins gold and bronze in the T44 200m and 100m at the Paralympics in Athens.

July 2007 Competes for the first time internationally against able-bodied athletes in Rome.

November 2007 Undergoes clinical tests and is then banned from IAAF competition. The organisation say Pistorius’ blades give him an unfair advantage.

May 2008 The Court of Arbitration for Sport over-rules the IAAF decision.

September 2008 Misses qualification for the Olympics by 0.7secs, but wins three golds at the Paralympics in Beijing.

January 2011 Wins three IPC world titles but loses for the first time in seven years over 100m.

August 2011 Qualifies for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu. Wins silver in the 4x400m relay, but misses out on a place in South Africa’s team for the final.

August 2012 Becomes the first double amputee to run at the Olympic Games, reaching the semi-finals of the 400m and the final of the 4x400m. Carries the South African flag at the Paralympic Opening Ceremony and then wins a silver and two gold medals in the 200m, 400m and 4x100m relay.

February 2013 Charged with murder after his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, is shot dead.

SOUTH AFRICAN GOLD MINE

Pistorius’ exploits made him the most famous Paralympic athlete on the planet and one of the sports’ top earners.

Estimated net worth: 3.2million

Estimated sponsorship deals: 3m (inc Nike and BT)

He is the highest-paid Paralympian in the world and last year was rated the eighth highest-paid Olympic athlete.

Yet, despite the countless awards and myriad appearances on chat shows and glossy magazines around the world in his crusade to be seen as a role model, the Blade Runner’s brand continued to be underpinned by his achievements on the track.

His attempt to break the 45-second barrier was set to continue this season before yesterday’s events. Pistorius had spent the last month training with British 400m runner Martyn Rooney in South Africa and was scheduled to contest two events in Australia in March.

He seemed calmer and more at ease than in the frenzied run-up to London 2012 but the burning desire to achieve, the drive that saw him lose 17kg in weight and change his body shape dramatically, remained.

Pistorius has never been afraid to set himself targets. He won three Paralympic gold medals in Beijing after failing to qualify for the Olympics and then told the world he would not miss out again in London. That he achieved that dream by reaching the semi-finals of the 400m is a testament to his self-belief and determination.

Seeing Pistorius swap race numbers with Kirani James, who eventually won 400m gold, after their semi-final provided one of the most touching moments of the Games, yet the South African’s participation was always going to be more significant than his performance.

It was not until the Paralympics that we saw the true sporting icon Pistorius had become. He was the poster boy of the Games; the good-looking South African plastered over adverts for Nike, Thierry Mugler, Oakley and BT in deals worth an estimated 3m a year, a figure that ranks him among athletics’ top earners.

When I visited him last February there was a copy of GQ magazine on the coffee table, heralding Pistorius as South Africa’s best-dressed man. The Blade Runner was the first and, possibly, only Paralympian whom many would have been able to name before the Games began. But then, suddenly, the halo slipped.

Pistorius lost his T44 200m crown to Alan Oliveira and claimed that the Brazilian’s blades were too long. His comments were not only ironic, given his continued insistence that blades did not give him an unfair advantage, but unsportsmanlike and deeply disrespectful. Yet, in the eyes of many, his outburst was the moment the Paralympics became relevant. This was elite sport we could relate to, argue over and dissect. And Pistorius was at the heart of it.

He comfortably retained his 400m crown and won another gold medal in the 4 x 100m relay, but he lost his 100m title in the stand-out race of the Paralympics. It was not Oscar’s name but that of 19-year-old Briton, Jonnie Peacock that was chanted by the sell-out crowd in the Olympic Stadium that evening.

Would there, though, have been a Jonnie without Oscar, the athlete Peacock has described as his ‘hero’ It was Pistorflius’s extraordinary sporting story that seemed to make it possible for a teenager from Cambridge who contracted meningitis when he was five years old.

And now the remarkable narrative of a quite extraordinary athlete has taken the most unimaginable twist.

A BLOODY HISTORY OF TALENT AND TRAGEDY…

Rugby star killed his daughter
Former Springbok rugby player accidentally shot dead his 19-year-old daughter when he mistook her for a car thief in 2004. Her Volkswagen Golf was being driven out of the driveway of their family home at 5am and he shot the driver from his bedroom window, thinking his daughter Marle was in bed.

Troubled end for Belcher
In December 2012, Jovan Belcher, a 25-year-old line-backer for the Kansas City Chiefs, shot his girlfriend dead before driving to the training ground and killing himself in front of his coach. The couple had a three-month-old child.

Life in prison for pitcher Ogawa
Japanese baseball pitcher Hiroshi Ogawa was convicted in September 2005 of killing a 67-year-old woman and was sentenced to life in prison. Deeply in debt, Ogawa stole $20,000 from the chairman of an industrial plant and pushed the housekeeper down the stairs before drowning her in a lake.

Did OJ get away with murder
In June 1994, NFL Hall of Famer OJ Simpson (below) was arrested for the murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman but was eventually acquitted. In 2008 he was convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping and is currently serving 33 years.

Rozier’s seven murders
Former American footballer Robert Rozier played for St Louis Cardinals before joining black supremacist cult ‘The Brotherhood’. He admitted to seven murders and was jailed for 22 years in October 1986 after agreeing to testify against other members of the organisation.

'Suicide bid’ went wrong
Jamaican fast bowler Leslie Hylton, who played in six Tests for the West Indies against England, taking 16 wickets, was hanged in May 1955 for the murder of his wife and remains the only cricketer to have ever been executed. Hylton claimed he had been trying to shoot himself but missed.

Oscar Pistorius beats Arabian horse Maserati in race in Doha

Oscar 1 Horse 0: Pistorius races against Arabian stud Maserati in Doha… and WINS

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UPDATED:

23:04 GMT, 12 December 2012

Oscar Pistorius has never baulked at a challenge. The sprinter was a star of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer, but his latest feat is little more on the obscure side.

The South African athlete raced against an Arabian horse named Maserati in Doha… and won!

Pistorius, who is nicknamed the “Blade
Runner” because of his carbon fibre running blades, outran the Arabian stud over 115metres in the
‘Run Like The Wind’ challenge at the Aspire Zone outdoor circuit.

Scroll down for video…

Miles ahead: The crowds cheered Oscar Pistorius as he bounds way ahead of the horse

Miles ahead: The crowds cheered Oscar Pistorius as he bounds way ahead of the horse

And the winner is...: Oscar Pistorius capitalised on a 15metre start over the horse in Doha

And the winner is…: Oscar Pistorius capitalised on a 15metre start over the horse in Doha

In the shadows: Maserati (right) was unable to catch up to the Olympian and Paralympian sprinter

In the shadows: Maserati (right) was unable to catch up to the Olympian and Paralympian sprinter

The athlete, who reached the 400m semi-finals in London and also ran in the 4x400m relay final to realise his boyhood dream of competing at the able-bodied Games, took full advantage of starting 15 metres in front of Maserati, who made a sluggish start to the race.

The sprinter, who was born without
the fibula bones in both legs, was taking part in the Definitely Able
campaign to highlight how Paralympians have contributed in sport.

After the race, Pistorius said: 'It wasnt about who won today, it was about just coming out here and showing people that those with disabilities are not to be stereotyped against.

'Thanks to everybody who came out here, we had a good night and hopefully that will do a lot to change perceptions of people with disabilities in this region.'

The Qatar Olympic committee tweeted:
‘Never mind run @OscarPistorius flew past #Arabian stud at
the#RunLikeTheWind #DefinitelyAble campaign.’

In his wake: Pistorius was grinning after the race

In his wake: Pistorius was grinning after the race

Earlier this week at Doha Goals, a
gathering of the leaders of sport in Abu Dhabi, said: ‘Arabian horses
[are] an iconic thing of the region. It is just a very special kind of
thing to do.

'I think it is going to be an amazing spectacle.’

Another victory: Oscar Pistorius beat the horse over 115m

Another victory: Oscar Pistorius beat the horse over 115m

Another victory: Oscar Pistorius beat the horse over 115m

The 26-year-old lit up the Olympic
Park stadium in this summer's Olympics, and won two gold medals and a
silver in the Paralympic Games.

The race was not the first time athletes have competed against horses with some of the most notable champions such as 1936 Olympics hero Jesse Owens and 1992 Olympic 100m gold medallist Linford Christie also going up against their four-legged friends, who generally out-paced their human rivals.

Pistorius is not even the first South African to run against an animal. Rugby player Bryan Habana ran against a cheetah in 2007.

Fair fight Pistorius' fellow South African Bryan Habana raced a cheetah in 2007

Fair fight Pistorius' fellow South African Bryan Habana raced a cheetah in 2007

Champion: Olympic legend Jesse Owens also raced against a horse

Champion: Olympic legend Jesse Owens also raced against a horse

VIDEO: Watch Oscar take on the horse Maserati in Doha

Stoke player Jamie Ness and model girlfriend saved from carbon monoxide poisoning by dog

Dog saves Stoke City midfielder and model girlfriend from carbon monoxide poisoning
Jamie Ness and girlfriend Heather noticed their dog was sleeping all dayEngineer discovered carbon monoxide leak was slowly poisoning labrador and could have killed couple

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UPDATED:

13:27 GMT, 23 November 2012

Heather Weir and boyfriend Jamie Ness could not understand why their normally active golden labrador wanted to sleep all day

Heather Weir and boyfriend Jamie Ness could not understand why their normally active golden labrador wanted to sleep all day

Stoke City's Jamie Ness and his model girlfriend Heather Weir say they owe their lives to their pet labrador after his strange behaviour prompted them to call in engineers.

They could not understand why their normally active dog Alfie suddenly wanted to sleep all day.

Investigations eventually revealed that the couple's Aga cooker was leaking lethal carbon monoxide gas that could have killed them.

One-year-old Alfie was sleepy because he was being slowly poisoned by the colourless, odourless gas.

Weir, 22, said: 'Without his strange behaviour Jamie and I would have went months not realizing what was leaking into our home.

'I love him so much and I'm so thankful to have such a wonderful companion – he saved our life.'

The 21-year-old midfielder moved from Glasgow to a new home in Cheshire with his girlfriend in July when he left Rangers for Stoke. He is yet to play for Tony Pulis's team in the Barclays Premier League but has represented Scotland through the age groups.

After noticing a strange smell, Heather had the stove checked and discovered it had been serviced and passed that month.

However, she said: 'Within the past four weeks, Alfie was sleeping all day. He had stopped playing with his toys and was just very lethargic.'

After returning from a family trip to the United States, Heather noticed Alfie was getting worse.

She said: 'He just wasn't right at all. Usually Alfie would be up and down like a yo-yo pestering me to play but instead, he went up to our room and slept for five hours.'

Heather had experienced a few brief moments of sickness but Jamie did not show any symptoms at all.

Determined to get the bottom of Alfie's strange behaviour, she called an engineer out to the home who immediately realised what was happening.

He told the couple that if Heather had not picked up on Alfie's sickness their exposure to the carbon monoxide leaking from the stove 'could have been fatal'.

Lucky escape: Stoke City Jamie Ness controls the ball against the Columbus Crew in July

Lucky escape: Stoke City Jamie Ness controls the ball against the Columbus Crew in July

Heather with Alfie: 'He makes our house a home', she said

Heather with Alfie: 'He makes our house a home', she said

Alfie's unusual behaviour alerted his owners to the carbon monoxide poisoning

Alfie's unusual behaviour alerted his owners to the carbon monoxide poisoning

'I explained about Alfie and myself and he was so genuinely concerned and happy that he'd discovered this for us before it could have been fatal,' she said.

'He explained that the smell of gas was not nearly as dangerous as the issue with the leak of carbon monoxide.

'I cannot believe how lucky we are – had we not caught this when we did, it could have been fatal to us all.

'I don't know what I'd do without Alfie – he makes our house a home.'

She added: 'Within two days of the problem being solved Alfie is back to his usual self.'

Carbon monoxide poisoning claims the lives of around 50 people a year in the UK.

Heather and Jamie said their dog was now back to his usual happy self

Heather and Jamie said their dog was now back to his usual happy self

Stephanie Trotter OBE, president and director of CO-Gas Safety who raise awareness and publish data of CO deaths and accidents, said that carbon monoxide prevention needs a “belt and braces” approach.

She said: 'Firstly, well done to the dog and well done to the girl.

'Often our dogs, cats and other pets are more susceptible to the gas because of their smaller lungs and weight.

'That's
why miners used to take canaries down the mines – if they stopped
singing you knew to get out because there was CO present.

'We
encourage all homes to open windows for ventilation, have their
chimneys regularly swept and install detectors – it really has to be a
belt and braces approach to keeping an eye on CO.'

The RSPCA said pet owners should be more aware of their pets' behaviour.

A
spokesman said: 'This demonstrates the importance of pet owners being
aware of their pet's normal behaviour and of being observant.

'If they do notice any change in their
pet's behaviour it's important to seek advice from their vet as it could
be a sign that their pet is suffering from a medical problem.'

Paul Johnston, chief executive of
Gas Safe Register, commented: 'The couple involved in this incident had a
lucky escape, but tragically others are not always so fortunate.

'Carbon
monoxide is a highly poisonous gas. You can't see it, taste it or smell
it and without an adequate supply of fresh air, it can kill quickly.

'The symptoms are also very similar to flu, which at this time of year is worrying if people get the two confused.'

For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk

Oscar Pistorius to compete in Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Man of many talents: Blade Runner Pistorius set to compete in Dunhill Links Championship

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UPDATED:

17:45 GMT, 28 September 2012

'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius will compete in next week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Fife.

The South African Olympian and Paralympian, who runs on carbon fibre blades, plays off an 18 handicap and will feature in the team competition which sees amateurs competing alongside professionals.

Many talents: Oscar Pistorius is an adept golfer and plays off 18

Many talents: Oscar Pistorius is an adept golfer and plays off 18

Pistorius, who won two gold medals and a silver at the London Paralympics, said: 'I am a big golf fan and love the game.

'I have never played St Andrews, Carnoustie or Kingsbarns before, so playing them in a world-class event is a unique opportunity.

'There is so much history at St Andrews, every golfer longs to play there.'

Other amateurs featuring along with 10 Major winners include actor Greg Kinnear, musician Huey Lewis and former Dutch footballers Ruud Gullit and Johan Cruyff.

Ernie Els and Paul Lawrie are among the professionals who will tee off on Thursday, along with holder Michael Hoey.

Blade Runner: Pistorius competed at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London

Blade Runner: Pistorius competed at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London

World Twenty20 2012: Nasser Hussain: England need to get right at the top

England need to get right at the top against New Zealand

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 28 September 2012


Needs to step up: Craig Kieswetter

Needs to step up: Craig Kieswetter

England need to sort out their top order. All through this tournament they have had to react to a crisis because of the tone set by their openers.

Alex Hales and Craig Kieswetter are good players individually but they are not clicking together.

Kieswetter has either used up too many dot balls and put pressure on Hales or gone too early, like the other night. They have to set the right tone for the likes of Eoin Morgan.

Flexibility matters

England seem a little bit too driven by statistics at the moment. For instance Morgan has said the stats show he is best between the sixth and 20th overs.

Fine, but use a bit of common sense and be flexible. In the absence of Kevin Pietersen, Morgan is England’s best player and you don’t want him coming in when 13 an over are required.

On a flat pitch like this one at Pallekele he can win any match. If he’s the finisher, give him enough time to finish. Why are England hiding Morgan

Nowhere to hide: England need to get Eoin Morgan into the game earlier

Nowhere to hide: England need to get Eoin Morgan into the game earlier

Respect but no fear

New Zealand are, if anything, a carbon copy of England so there is no unorthodoxy or mystery to fear. But that doesn’t mean to say they are not a very potent team.

They are certainly as good as West Indies and, as we saw here, also Sri Lanka. Brendon McCullum’s stats are as good as Chris Gayle’s while Ross Taylor is a six hitter and Tim Southee showed himself to be a good death bowler here.

Yes, respect them England, but go and express yourselves.

London 2012 Olympics: Oscar Pistorius – I wasn"t proving a point

Blade Runner Pistorius humbled by London roar and insists he had no point to prove

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UPDATED:

00:49 GMT, 6 August 2012

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Oscar Pistorius insisted he was not at the London Olympics to prove a point as he bowed out of the 400 metres.

The 25-year-old, who has made history by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete in an Olympics, finished last in his semi-final in 46.54 seconds.

The South African's participation remained controversial four years on from winning a legal battle with the IAAF over his carbon fibre running blades, but the public support for the athlete known as Blade Runner is almost unrivalled.

Out of the blocks: Oscar Pistorius runs during his men's 400m semi-final at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday

Out of the blocks: Oscar Pistorius runs during his men's 400m semi-final at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday

Out of the blocks: Oscar Pistorius runs during his men's 400m semi-final at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday

The roar which has greeted him when he has been introduced to the crowd has been loud enough to rival that which has welcomed every British competitor.

Pistorius, whose aim had always been the semi-finals, said: 'I am struggling to find a way to describe it. It is really humbling all the support I have had.

'It has been an unbelievable experience.

'I didn't come here to prove a point. I wanted to do the best I could possibly do and push myself as hard as I can.

'I won't know who to shout for [in the final] tomorrow. They are such gentlemen. This has been one of the best experiences of my life.

Good show: Double amputee Pistorius (centre) bowed out of the 400m at the semi-final stage

Good show: Double amputee Pistorius (centre) bowed out of the 400m at the semi-final stage

Mark of respect: Pistorius exchanges bibs with Kirani James (right) of Grenada after their race

Mark of respect: Pistorius exchanges bibs with Kirani James (right) of Grenada after their race

'Just being out in front of this crowd, 70,000 felt like 170,00, was an unbelievable experience.'

The four-time Paralympic champion, who had his lower legs amputated at 11 months old after being born without a fibula in either leg, swapped name bibs with Grenada's Kirani James after the race after the world champion approached him.

'When we crossed the line, for Kirani James to give me his number shows the kind of sportsmen we have in the Olympic Games,' added Pistorius, who will be back in the stadium for the 4x400m relay.

'We have a lot of respect for each other. For him to ask for my bib number shows what a true gentleman he is.'

James added: 'Oscar is someone special, especially in our event. It's a memorable moment for me to be out here performing with him.

'He's an inspiration to all of us. He is very special to our sport. He's a down to earth guy and a great individual. I thought it was a nice gesture to exchange bibs. I am going to keep it.'

London 2012 Olympics: Oscar Pistorius qualifies for 400m semi-finals

Blade Runner creates Olympic history as Pistorius qualifies for 400m semi-finals

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UPDATED:

10:01 GMT, 4 August 2012

Oscar Pistorius of South Africa became the first amputee to compete on the track at an Olympics, finishing second in his 400 metres heat Saturday to advance to the next round.

Pistorius, a double-amputee who runs on carbon-fibre blades, circled the oval in 45.44 seconds – good enough for second place in his heat and a berth in the semi-finals on Sunday night.

Pistorius waged a long fight to run in the Olympics against able-bodied opponents and finally got that chance on a sunny morning in front of a sellout crowd at Olympic Stadium.

Pistorius was born without fibulas and his legs were amputated below the knee before he was a year old.

More to follow.

Flying start: Double amputee Oscar Pistorius came second in his heat of the men's 400m

Flying start: Double amputee Oscar Pistorius came second in his heat of the men's 400m

London 2012 Olympics: A message to the moaners… BELT UP! Des Kelly

A message to all the Olympic moaners… BELT UP!

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UPDATED:

22:21 GMT, 20 July 2012

It's a crisis. It's a complete disaster. It's not just a shambles out there, people; it's an Olympic omnishambles. The Games are six days away and nothing works, absolutely everything is broken and the only solution is to cancel the event and send all those arriving at Heathrow straight back home on the next available flight.

Why Because according to reports, any fool venturing into London will die of carbon monoxide poisoning as they sit in month-long traffic jams. Or drown in their body sweat on overcrowded Tube trains. Or sink into oblivion trying to negotiate the mud flats otherwise known as the Olympic Park.

The mobile phone networks will fail, the internet will collapse into a black hole in cyberspace, pickpockets will steal everything, including your kidneys, and the entire country will end up bankrupt. It's a nightmare – and all because of the 2012 Games. You have been warned!

Stop moaning! Great Britain has lined-up a stunning Games, it's time we started enjoying it

Stop moaning! Great Britain has lined-up a stunning Games, it's time we started enjoying it

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Welcome to the pre-opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, a spectacle staged under the Latin motto Nos faciem malignus fatum, which loosely translates as 'We're doomed'.

This is what Britain does before any major event. The country moans en masse. We predict the worst. We produce a Doomsday Book of impending disasters and then imagine extra problems just so we can moan a bit more. Read the papers, turn on the radio or try the television news and it's moan, moan, Olympics, moan. The outlook could not be gloomier if Huw Edwards were reading the weather forecast. Carping and whining is the order of the day. But can I just make one request of the Olympic complainers Shut up. That's right. Shut up. Cheer yourselves up or put a sock in it.

There are some aspects of the London Games that deserve scorn, such as the private security firm fiasco and the unresolved issue of what happens to the stadium after the Games. But the country has gone way beyond expressing reasonable doubts on specific issues.

People are now complaining for the sake of it, moaning on and on about every tiny aspect of daily life in London – and then blaming it all on the Olympics. The Games haven't started yet. There is a last-minute dash to make sure all the pieces are in place for the most complex, detailed and demanding party staged not just in sport, but anywhere.

A Royal wedding is a village fete by comparison. At a World Cup, everyone plays football. The Olympics is 36 different world championships being staged simultaneously. But because it hasn't started yet, and nature abhors a vacuum, the empty space has been filled with the sound of non-stop moaning.

Just look at some of the so-called 'calamities' that we are told 'threaten the Games'.

Final countdown: The venues are ready and the competitors are arriving in their droves

Final countdown: The venues are ready and the competitors are arriving in their droves

Transport crisis

A bus took a wrong turn this week. Yes, that's right. A driver with a faulty satellite navigation system went the wrong way while shuttling American athletes from Heathrow Airport to the Olympic Park. Somehow, this made it to the top of the news agenda and the front page of one newspaper.

Had the man behind the wheel driven his vehicle off the cliffs at Beachy Head in his confusion, I could have understood. Instead, he merely took the wrong exit road, stopped, looked at a map, found the correct route and completed his journey.

But when one athlete on board whined about this via Twitter the story took on a life of its own. Former world champion 400 metres hurdler Kerron Clement complained: 'Um, so we've been lost on the road for 4hrs. Not a good first impression London.'

Obviously, London only exists to impress Clement. But it transpired the journey took a little over two hours, not four. And the runner might not be the most reliable witness anyway, since a day later he announced: 'In Wales. I'm so loving this city…' Yes, welcome to the city of Wales, Kerron, in that great country of London.

So, one bus out of 100 or more took a wrong turn. One athlete out of around 10,500 from 204 nations landing in London during Britain's biggest peacetime transport operation complained. And this was enough for the moaners to say, 'See I told you so'!

Crisis What crisis London is undertaking a huge project, hosting 36 world championships at one time

Crisis What crisis London is undertaking a huge project, hosting 36 world championships at one time

Road crisis

London always has traffic jams. There was a stinker at the Blackwall Tunnel on Friday. There is always a jam at the Blackwall Tunnel, but the difference this time is that it was because of the Olympics and Mayor Boris Johnson.

And there'll be more jams during the three weeks of the 2012 Games. But so what Don't drive unless you have to. The public transport works. This week I timed how long it would take to get from the Houses of Parliament to the Olympic Park in east London. The Tube took 19 minutes to Stratford on the Jubilee Line.

On the way back, I jumped on the new Javelin train and I'd barely settled in my seat when we arrived at St Pancras seven minutes later. If that were Japan or France we'd be saying how brilliant it was. Here, we just grumble that it'll probably break down at some point.

When Sydney hosted the Games, more than a quarter of the city took annual leave, another quarter changed their working hours and more than a fifth worked from home. They enjoyed their Olympics. Try it too, London.

Go to the concerts, the festivals and in the parks and the different spectacles staged along the Thames. Put a prawn on the barbie. If you're in a flood zone, it'll probably swim right up to your door.

Best mode of transport The Stratford hub is served by road, rail... and water

Best mode of transport The Stratford hub is served by road, rail… and water

Olympic Lanes

No, you can't drive in them. Boo hoo. They are annoying, but they are a necessary evil. They've been at every Olympics and London is no different. Did you think staging the world's biggest sporting event would cause no disruption whatsoever

Or did you believe Usain Bolt really runs to the start line just like he does in that advert

Weather

It might rain. I believe there has been the odd spit and spot of the stuff lately. But if it does, try not to panic.

Wear a waterproof mac, or put on some wellies if you are heading to a field. But don't go on and on about it. We live in a country where it rains on occasion. Weather happens. And although the meteorological process is often considered page one news at the Daily Express, the rest of us can probably stay calm and carry on. The sun will come out for the Olympics anyway. Just so Londoners can then complain it's 'too hot'.

Blue sky approach: So what if it rains It rains quite a lot in London anyway

Blue sky approach: So what if it rains It rains quite a lot in London anyway

Opening Ceremony Fears

This will be the world's most-watched television event. One billion will tune in to Danny Boyle's curtain-raiser. But we hear the show has already been 'slashed' by 30 minutes. I know, it's unbelievable, isn't it What a disgrace.

A performance we have very little prior knowledge of is about to have some of those unknown scenes shortened to make sure it doesn't overrun. Now, we may never see what we didn't know we were going to see in the first place.

And I, for one, am furious. I'll have to make do with just the three hours and a finish time around midnight.

Insecurity

This certainly has, on the face of it, been a mess. Private security contractors G4S are short of around 1,500 temporary guards. If you're wondering why, it's because the recruits, mainly students and habitual part-timers, decided they could do without being paid the pittance on offer.

So our squaddies, who have no choice, are covering the deficit and sleeping on chairs shoved together on site. The Olympic Park is now filled with the incongruous sight of soldiers in full camouflage pulling on high-visibility vests. None of it is ideal. It's been bungled.

But, if anything, Olympic security is tighter with the military in place than it was when we relied on Colin, a student of international tourism management at the University of East London, to master the X-ray scanner.

Military precision: The armed forces have sprung into action after being let down by a private security firm

Military precision: The armed forces have sprung into action after being let down by a private security firm

Some have even moaned about the fact there are twice as many soldiers at the Olympics than in Afghanistan. Let's ask the 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment where they would rather be deployed On patrol in Helmand Province, dodging snipers and landmines, or keeping an eye on proceedings at the women's beach volleyball on Horse Guards Parade.

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Some mistakes have been made. For instance, the ground-to-air missiles stationed in east London seem superfluous. All the organisers had to do was ask the locals for help.

In the event of any security threat, residents in east London could have been alerted by text message and simply reached for their handguns and fired at any incoming object from their windows, as is traditional in many neighbourhoods. It would have saved a few bob.

So, if you can hear me above the deafening whine of moaning, shall we let the Games begin It is a wonderful spectacle and a chance to showcase some of the best of Britain to the world. Of course something will go wrong.

There'll be a glitch here and there, hopefully nothing more. Some idiot will undoubtedly try to disrupt an event, people will have to queue to get home, something will break – that stuff happens. I'll be among the first to report any genuine botches as they happen at the Games, too. But I'm not going in with a miserable scowl.

Refueling: There's plenty on offer at the Olympic site - including quiet a large McDonalds

Refueling: There's plenty on offer at the Olympic site – including quiet a large McDonalds

This is an enormous festival, a sporting and cultural event that will live in history for ever. If you believe everything is a complete waste of time, money and energy, then it's your right to say so. But you've pretty much done that, I'd say. So can you shut your face now and let the rest of us enjoy the bash

The truth is, Britain loves a grumble. But most moan and gripe right up to the point when the actual event begins – and then wave their Union flags like crazy in celebration. So come on. It's time. Let's enjoy ourselves.