Israeli sprinter Donald Sanford finished fifth in his qualifying heat of the men's 400 meter race on Saturday, failing to qualify for the semi-final.

Sanford finished fifth in his heat with a time of 45.71 seconds. Israeli media reported Saturday that Sanford said his shoes had been stolen prior to the race, negatively effecting his finishing time.

The Los Angeles native met Israeli basketball player Danielle Dekel while the two were at Central Arizona College before moving on to run for Arizona State. The two married in 2008 and have lived in Kibbutz Ein Shemer for three years, becoming parents to daughter Amy earlier this year. This past March Sanford was given the International Amateur Athletics Federation's (IAAF) approval to represent Israel.

In an earlier heat of the men's 400 meters, South Africa's Oscar Pistorius became the first double amputee to compete on the track at an Olympic Games, finishing second in his heat with a season's best time.

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Nicknamed 'Blade Runner', Pistorius races wearing carbon fiber prosthetic blades after being born without a fibula in both legs.

The 25-year-old, who is also in South Africa's 4x400 relay team, raced to huge cheers and looked comfortable throughout as he qualified for the semi-finals with a time of 45.44 seconds - beating a previous season's best of 45.52.

In 2008, Pretoria-born Pistorius successfully appealed against an IAAF decision to ban him from running in able-bodied events.

In other track and field news, Israeli pole vaulter Jillian Schwartz did not reach the final of the women's event at the London Olympics on Saturday, failing on all three of her attempts to pass the 4.5 meter bar.

Schwartz had passed 4.1 meters on her first attempt, 4.25 meters on her third attempt and 4.4 meters on her first attempt.

Schwartz, an Illinois native, represented the US in the 2004 Athens Olympics. She received Israeli citizenship in 2009.

Also scheduled to compete for Israel on Saturday were windsurfers Shahar Zubari and Lee Korzits, as well as Gil Cohen and Vered Bouskila in the women's 470 class of sailing, and Gidi Kliger and Eran Sela in the men's 470 class of sailing.

Allon Sinai contributed to this report.

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