South Africa's Olympic governing body president, Gideon Sam, has congratulated 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius for scooping the 2012 Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award.
"Congratulations to Oscar," enthused Sam on Tuesday. "What a kick-off to our Olympic and Paralympic campaign! There's no doubt Oscar will be one of the key weapons in our battle to win even more medals at the Paralympics.
"He is not only a Paralympics legend already, not only a fine ambassador for South Africa but also a role model to both athletes with disabilities as well as able-bodied athletes."
Pistorius, who runs on specially designed carbon fibre blades, was last year the first amputee athlete to win an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships track medal when he was part of the South African silver-medal winning 4×400m relay team in Daegu, South Korea.
After receiving the Laureus Statuette from Spanish actress Elsa Pataky and skateboard legend Tony Hawk in the globally televised Awards Ceremony in London, an elated Pistorius said: "[It] is just a great privilege to be nominated; it is really humbling to be here. To all the Laureus Academy Members, all you guys, thank you very much."
He ran a personal best 400m time of 45.07 sec in Italy last year to qualify for the world championships and is now bidding to be part of Team South Africa at this year's 2012 Olympic Games in London.
South African's Olympic governing body chief executive officer, Tubby Reddy, also extended his congratulations to Pistorius.
"Oscar is a remarkable young athlete. The impact that he has had on uplifting the image of sportsmen and women with disabilities is enormous. Coming as it does in an Olympic and Paralympic year, this honour is a huge boost for South African sport."
Pistorius, now aged 25, was born with a congenital absence of the fibula and his legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11-months-old.