"He's fought to get here. He's here. Great guy, friend of mine," said Merritt, who pulled up lame with an injured hamstring halfway through his race and won't get to face Pistorius on the track.
One man who might, Britain's Nigel Levine, is among those who sounded less than thrilled about all the hype over Pistorius, who will also compete for South Africa in the 4x400-meter relay next week.
"Ask him," Levine said when asked if Pistorius had an advantage. "I'll keep my opinion to myself on that one. It has nothing to do with me."
Advantage or no, getting to the semifinals was never a sure thing. Then again, there haven't been many sure things for the "Blade Runner" on this Olympic road. And so, he appreciates every moment.
"It sometimes difficult to think the athletes and the friends and family of those who are here really understand what it's about," Pistorius said. "To be out here and to know you sacrificed 'X' amount to achieve this is just really mind-blowing."
Associated Press reporter Ed Brown in Johannesburg contributed to this report.
(This version CORRECTS Corrects style on 'Henk'. This story is part of AP's general news and sports services.)
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