Oscar Pistorius on Friday eased through to the final of the T44 400m, setting him up to defend the last of three Paralympic crowns after after two straight defeats. The 25-year-old, the only man in the field of single and double below-the-knee amputees to run under 50sec in the one-lap sprint, was out in front after 200m and came round the final bend well ahead before crossing the line in 48.31sec. The “Blade Runner” looked comfortable as he slowed to the tape, saving his energy for Saturday’s final for which he will be favourite, after a tough Games that has seen him lose his 100m and 200m titles. From Pistorius’ heat, Germany’s David Behre and David Prince of the United States both qualifed automatically, as did Prince’s compatriot Blake Leeper, Alan Oliveira of Brazil and Liu Zheming of China in the previous heat. Jarryd Wallace of the United States and Ivan Prokopyev of Russia qualified as fastest losers. South African Pistorius is the most high-profile athlete at the Games after he became the first double-amputee to compete at the Olympics last month.