ATHLETICS Australia has pulled off a stunning coup by signing South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius to compete at meetings in Sydney and Perth in March.
Known as the 'Blade Runner', the 2011 world championship relay silver medallist will take on the likes of rising star Steve Solomon who made the final of the 400m at the London Olympics where Pistorius made the semi-finals in the same event.
The South African said he was excited about the opportunity to compete in Australia and perhaps inspire young people to take up athletics.
"It is going to provide a fantastic boost to my preparation for my 2013 season," he said.
"The four-by-four team (4x400m) from Australia has always been strong so I know there will be strong competition at both meets.
"The rise of Steve Solomon to the Olympic final was astounding too, so fingers crossed I will see him on the start lists when I am out there.
"Between all of us I hope we can put on a bit of a show for the fans. I plan to be in pretty solid form when I arrive and it would be great to start my season in style."
As well as making the semi-finals of the 400m in London, Pistorius, who became the first amputee to compete in an Olympic Games, anchored the South African team to a season best time of 3:03.46 in the final of the 4x400m relay before carrying his country's flag at the closing ceremony.
"... my race in Perth coincides with Australian Junior Champs. It's great to know that I will be competing at a time when so many possible future stars are going to be in town," he said.
"I hope we encourage those youngsters to put everything into their sport, keep pushing the boundaries to be your best, because making sure that next generation comes through is so important for athletics."