Pistorius: Games will change mindsets
Oscar Pistorius will attempt to defend his T44 100, 200 and 400m titles in London
Oscar Pistorius believes having the 2012 Paralympic Games in London can once and for all change public perceptions toward disability.
The South African is not only the global face of Paralympic sport, but also a household name in his own right, having made history last month by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete in the Olympics. The Blade Runner is back in London to try and defend his T44 100, 200 and 400 metres titles.
The 25-year-old said: "The UK has definitely been a country which I've noticed has dealt with disability in a really amazing way. They haven't thought of it as a problem, they've seen it more as a challenge to change people's perceptions."
He added: "There are a lot of people who are going to watch these Games around the world that are going to be forced in a way to see the Paralympic Games through the eyes of the people of the UK. I think that's a great thing.
"I believe this Paralympic Games is going to set many people's perception not only about Paralympic sport, but many people's perception about others living with disabilities. This is going to completely change people's mindsets. I'm so excited to see the impact that this leaves around the world."
Meanwhile, Pistorius has admitted he does not fancy his chances of winning the most highly-anticipated race of the London Paralympics. His showdown with British sprinter Jonnie Peacock in the T44 100 metres final next Thursday night is the hottest ticket of the Games.
The event took a back seat for Pistorius as he focused on his history-making ambition, which he achieved, of qualifying for the Olympics over 400m. Only last week Pistorius raced for the first time over 100m in 16 months.
"I think it's important to note I haven't run a 100m personal best in five years," said Pistorius.
"It's not really my event so, although I do feel threatened, I don't feel helpless. As Jonnie and those guys focus on the 100m, my focus is on the 400m, on the opposite side of the spectrum when it comes to sprinting.
"If I can just get in the top three I think I'd be very happy. My focus is on trying to defend my titles, but then I have to be realistic and say the 400m and the 200m are the events I am better suited at."