Oscar's historic qualification

Oscar Pistorius is the first double-amputee ever to compete in the Olympic Games.

South African double-amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius

LONDON - South African double-amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius on Saturday made history after qualifying for the semi-final of the men's 400metre sprint with a season's best time.

Pistorius is the first double-amputee ever to compete in the Olympic Games.

A firm favourite with the crowd, the runner came second in his heat.

The 'Blade Runner' races wearing carbon fibre prosthetic blades after being born without a fibula in both legs.

The 25-year-old, who is also in South Africa's 4x400 relay team, raced to huge cheers and looked comfortable throughout as he qualified for the semi-finals with a time of 45.44 seconds, beating a previous season's best of 45.52.

World junior champion Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic won the race with a time of 45.04.

In 2008, Pretoria-born Pistorius successfully appealed against an International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) decision to ban him from running in able-bodied events.

Meanwhile, the South African women's hockey team will have to be content with a bottom-half finish to their Olympic campaign.

This is after losing 1-0 to Australia in their penultimate pool B contest in London on Saturday.

The loss means South Africa will not be able to compete for a semi-final place as they failed to win four games played since the beginning of the Olympics.