Johannesburg - Oscar Pistorius returned to light training and was "overcome with
emotion" as he pulled on his carbon fiber blades for a session at his
usual practice facility on Thursday, his agent said.
Agent Peet van Zyl said on Friday he was contacted about a
week ago by Pistorius, who expressed a desire to return to a regular
track routine for the first time since the February 14 shooting death of
girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
"I think it's huge for him," said Van
Zyl, who went with Pistorius to the University of Pretoria for the
session. "He (Pistorius) was overcome with emotion when he put on his
Pistorius described the experience as "bittersweet" to
Van Zyl after the track session, the agent said, who also described
Pistorius' first formal session in around five months as "really
Van Zyl said there were still no plans for Pistorius
to run competitively and his return to the track involved "light stuff"
that would help give Pistorius' life a routine as he awaits a murder
trial for the killing of Steenkamp. Van Zyl went to the track with
Pistorius while his regular coach, Ampie Louw, is away on holiday.
television footage of the session released by Pistorius' family, the
double-amputee Olympian is seen in a blue hooded sports top pulling on
his blades while sitting on a chair on a sunbathed track. A bearded
Pistorius does some light jogging in his blades, and then wipes his face
with both hands as he walks off track.
"The actual word he used
to me was bittersweet," Van Zyl said of Pistorius' training. "He can't
be happy because of what's happened."
Pistorius' next court
appearance is on August 19, when prosecutors may indict him and a date
could be set for the start of his murder trial, possibly in September or
October. Pistorius denies murder in Steenkamp's killing, saying he shot
her accidentally in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day because he
thought she was an intruder in his bathroom.
The 26-year-old Pistorius faces a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years in prison if he is convicted of premeditated murder.
a statement on Pistorius' website, his family confirmed he decided to
resume running on track for a few hours a week for his own mental
It was "not aimed at preparing for competition," they said.
has said he will not run competitively for the rest of 2013 while he
faces a likely lengthy trial, but will run regularly on the track while
his court case continues.
"His focus at this time remains entirely
on the court case," the family said in the statement. "His family and
those close to him have encouraged him to spend a few hours a week on
the track to assist him in finding the necessary mental and emotional
equilibrium to process his trauma and prepare for the trial."
Pistorius has previously been seen just once on an athletics track since Steenkamp' s death.
March sighting at the University of Pretoria spurred speculation that
he was back in training, which was denied by his family at the time, who
described him then as being in "an extremely traumatized state" and not
willing to contemplate training. Pistorius was photographed by a
schoolgirl on a cellphone while he was walking on the same track. His
family and Van Zyl said he went there only to show some Australian
athletes where he usually trained. He did some light jogging, they said,
but did not properly train.
He also went without the knowledge of Van Zyl or coach Louw.
family has talked of the multiple Paralympic champion's mental struggle
to resume running, having not competed since he retained his 400 meters
title at the London Paralympics last September.
They said in
April that Pistorius had been out running on isolated occasions, "but
each time has been very difficult and he has struggled immensely with
the decision to even leave the house."
Van Zyl said Pistorius
would probably train three or four times a week, but there was no
pressure on him if he chose not to do a session.
"It's just to get him running again," Van Zyl said.