Australia's 400 metre Olympic finalist, Steve Solomon, will not be back home in time to compete against visiting South African star “Blade runner” Oscar Pistorius.
Solomon will only return to Australia from the US for the national titles and will miss the rest of the domestic season.
Pistorius, who became the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics when he ran in the 400m in London, will compete in the Sydney and Perth meets of the Australian Athletics Tour in March.
He will not compete at the nationals, meaning Australian athletics fans will miss the meeting of the ground-breaking athlete and Australia's fastest young talent.
“I won't be back for the domestic season but I will be back for nationals," Solomon said.
"Unfortunately my college schedule doesn't allow me to be back for the domestic season, which is a great shame because I would love to have raced him, he is a great ambassador for the sport and a great athlete, so to be missing that opportunity is one I do regret,” Solomon said.
The 19-year-old from Sydney has taken up a scholarship at Stanford University in the US to study medicine and compete for the college track and field team.
“Coming back for the nationals, hopefully I will be in some decent shape. Obviously the seasons are very different in America than Australia, they are flipped, so when I come back for nationals I will still be in base training, still in full training whereas everyone here will be in their peak training so it will be a good test for me."
Solomon, who came third at the World Junior championships in Barcelona last year in a personal best time, was subsequently given a discretionary selection to run in the individual 400m at the Olympics after originally being selected only in the relay team.
Solomon went on to run a personal best in the heats on his way to making it through to the final and in so doing became the first Australian since Darren Clarke in 1988 to make the final of the men's 400m.
Pistorius, will feature at the Sydney Track Classic on March 9 and the Perth Track Classic on March 16.
"I plan to be in pretty solid form when I arrive and it would be great to start my season in style at the meet,"Pistorius said last month of his decision to come to Australia.
Michael Gleeson is a senior AFL football writer and Fairfax Media's athletics writer. He also covers tennis, cricket and other sports. He won the AFL Players Association Grant Hattam Trophy for excellence in journalism for the second time in 2014 and was a finalist in the 2014 Quill Awards for best sports feature writer. He was also a finalist in the 2014 Australian Sports Commission awards for his work on ‘Boots for Kids’. He is a winner of the AFL Media Association award for best news reporter and a two-time winner of Cricket Victoria’s cricket writer of the year award. Michael has covered multiple Olympics, Commonwealth Games and world championships and 15 seasons of AFL, He has also written seven books - five sports books and two true crime books.
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