Athletics

Pistorius faces cold shoulder

2013-03-29 13:03
Oscar Pistorius (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The sporting world seems poised to give the cold shoulder to Oscar Pistorius after a court in South Africa allowed the Olympic and Paralympic star to return to international competition.

SPECIAL REPORT: Oscar Pistorius on trial

According to The Guardian website, organisers of major athletics meetings now face a dilemma over whether to invite the 26-year-old to race, with many privately admitting they are reluctant to welcome Pistorius, who is awaiting trial for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home on Valentine's Day.

British Athletics declined to comment on the issue, but sources close to the governing body say Pistorius is unlikely to receive an invitation to run at the London Anniversary Games, to be held in the Olympic Stadium on July 27, or at the Birmingham Grand Prix on June 30.

Pistorius is also unlikely to be welcomed back to two Diamond League meetings in the United States this year, with one source saying: "My gut feeling is that it would be completely unrealistic."

Athletics' governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), say they will not dictate to meeting organisers which athletes they invite to their events. However, it is believed that any organisers who do invite Pistorius will risk incurring the wrath of the authorities, who fear an onslaught of negative publicity for the sport.

According to SAPA, Pistorius could face a life sentence if convicted of murder. He claims that he mistook his girlfriend for a burglar when he opened fire through a closed bathroom door at his home in a gated community in Pretoria. He is next due in court on June 4, and his trial is likely to take place before the end of the year.

On Thursday, Pistorius' lawyers asked the North Gauteng high court for several of the bail conditions to be relaxed, arguing that Pistorius - who has been staying with his uncle - was effectively under house arrest.

The judge, Bert Bam, granted the appeal, saying there was no reason Pistorius should not be allowed to leave the country if he was invited to compete abroad, but his passport will be held by a court while he is in South Africa, Pistorius can only leave the country if he provides an itinerary of his travel plans at least a week in advance, and he must hand his travel documents back to the court within 24 hours of returning home.

The judge also ruled that Pistorius could return to his upmarket Pretoria home where Steenkamp was shot dead, and lifted a requirement for him to undergo random mandatory alcohol and drug tests.

Judge Bam admitted that while Pistorius faced "very serious" charges, he was still entitled to fair treatment.

At this stage it remains unclear whether Pistorius will attempt to qualify for the IAAF World Championships which are set to take place in Moscow in August.

Read more on:    iaaf  |  oscar pistorius  |  athletics
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