Glasgow & West Scotland

University honour for amputee Olympian Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius
Image caption Oscar Pistorius competed at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London

The first double leg amputee to compete at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games has been made an honorary doctor by Strathclyde University.

Oscar Pistorius, 25, was recognised for his outstanding sporting success at the ceremony in Glasgow.

The South African sprinter also visited the university's National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics.

He met swimmer Adam Donnachie, born with both his legs missing. The 11-year-old said Pistorius was his "hero".

'Dream come true'

Adam, from Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, said: "It was the time of my life getting to meet him, a dream come true.

"He's my hero because he just never gives up. Meeting him was the best thing that's ever happened to me.

"I swim with Scotland just now, we train four times a week, and I'd like to follow in Oscar's footsteps by going to the Paralympics.

Image caption Pistorius is being honoured for outstanding sporting success

"It's one of my goals to make it to Rio in 2016."

Pistorius' parting words to Adam, who trains four times a week with the Scottish junior disability swim team, were: "I'll see you in Rio."

The South African, who is nicknamed "Blade Runner", due to his flexible running blades, hopes to compete in the 400m event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

He made history in London this year by becoming the first double leg amputee to compete at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Pistorius said: "There are a lot of youngsters here (at the centre) that I can identify with.

"When I was young I used to go to a prosthetics centre and I spent a lot of time there - when kids are growing, their braces have to change as they put on muscle and weight.

"Some of these kids spend a lot of time here and they form great relationships with their therapists, which is quite special.

"I think when you see some of the kids here, they've really come to find this as a second home."

Pistorius later joined hundreds of engineering graduates for a ceremony at the university's Barony Hall.

'Proud day'

He said the award of his honorary doctorate capped off an amazing year and he praised the university for "leading the way in prosthetic research and development".

"Today is a very proud day for me," he said.

"The people of Scotland are always so warm and welcoming towards me, and I think of it as my second home here.

"Thank you to everyone at the university for their support, this truly does cap what has been an amazing year for me."

Prof Sir Jim McDonald, principal of the university, said: "His sporting success, combined with his determination to help people affected by disability, has made him an excellent role model, not only for our graduating students here at Strathclyde but for millions of people across the globe.

"It is fitting that Oscar's visit has included a visit to our Department for Biomedical Bioengineering - an excellent example of what can be achieved by bringing together innovative technologies, determined people and excellent teaching to improve lives."

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