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Double amputee Pistorius makes Olympic history

Oscar Pistorius has made it into the history books as the first double amputee to compete on the Olympic track. World record holder Usain Bolt, meanwhile, won his qualifying heat but is set to face stiff competition.

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius made history on Saturday by becoming the first double amputee to compete on the track at the Olympic games, qualifying for the men's 400-meter semi-final with a time of 45.44 seconds.

Pistorius had both of his legs amputated below the knee before he was one due to a congenital condition. He runs on carbon fiber blades.

"It's just an experience to be here. It's a dream come true," said Pistorius, who clocked in as the 16th fastest overall.

"It's just an unbelievable experience," he continued. "I found myself smiling on the starting blocks, which is very rare, and as I came out of the tunnel I saw my friends and family here."

Bolt wins heat

In the men's 100-meter, meanwhile, world record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica won his qualifying heat with a time of 10.09 seconds, despite stumbling at the start.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates after the Men's 100m Round 1 during the London 2012 Olympic Games Athletics, Track and Field events at the Olympic Stadium, London, Britain, 04 August 2012. Photo: Michael Kappeler dpa

Doubts had been raised about Bolt's fitness due to thigh problems

"It was good," Bolt told reporters. "I'm happy, my legs are feeling good so I'm happy."

"My reaction was good but I made a bad step and I stumbled a bit," he continued. "But overall it was good."

Bolt became a star during the Beijing Olympics in 2008, where he won gold in record time in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m.

But it was American Ryan Bailey, a relative unknown compared to his competitors, who qualified with the fastest time in London, clocking in at 9.88 seconds.

Yohan Blake, who beat Bolt in the 100m and 200m at the Jamaican trials, qualified with a time of 10.00 seconds. Bolt is also set to face tough competition from Asafa Powell of Jamaica and Americans Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay. Powell clocked in at 10.04 seconds while Gatlin finished in 9.97 and Gay in 10.04.

slk/sej (AP, AFP, Reuters)