Pistorius ‘not on training programme’

Athlete’s uncle says ‘Bladerunner’ is running but not back in training at present

Oscar Pistorius’s family have denied ruours that the athlete is back training. Photograph: John Walton/PA Wire

Oscar Pistorius’s family have denied ruours that the athlete is back training. Photograph: John Walton/PA Wire

Thu, Apr 4, 2013, 16:42

Oscar Pistorius is not back in training and is “still in an extremely traumatised state”, his family said today after a photograph of the ‘Bladerunner’ jogging round a track was printed in a South African newspaper.

Responding to reports that the athlete is back in training, his uncle Arnold Pistorius said in a statement that, although the 26-year-old had been out running, he is not on any “official training programme”.

The double amputee and six-time Paralympic sprint champion is awaiting trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February. He claims he shot 29-year-old Ms Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder, but has been charged with premeditated murder.

The photograph, taken by a member of a children’s hockey team on March 24th, shows the 2012 Paralympic gold medal winner wearing his blades and jogging around the track at the University of Pretoria.

Arnold Pistorius denied rumours the athlete is back in training. He said: “Oscar is not back on any official training programme. This may change in future, but this will be a decision taken by Oscar, and Oscar alone.

“At this point Oscar is still in an extremely traumatised state and has made it clear to all of us that he is not able or willing to even contemplate this issue at this stage. Against this backdrop, we can confirm that we did have a meeting with Oscar yesterday where various family members and his trainer were present.

“We all encouraged him to get back onto the track to help stabilise him emotionally. Oscar has been out running on a number of isolated occasions in the days following the relaxation of his bail conditions, but each time has been very difficult and he has ‘struggled immensely’ with the decision to even leave the house.

“As a family, however, we encourage him to start exercising as we believe it is a vital step in helping him deal with the trauma.”

Pistorius is next due in court on June 4th, with a trial expected to take place before the end of this year. Last week his bail conditions were changed by a judge, allowing the double amputee to travel abroad providing he hands over his travel plans.

Pistorius’ agent Peet van Zyl said that a return to training could help the sprinter come to terms with his grief over Ms Steenkamp’s tragic death.

He said: “He (Pistorius) is finding it very difficult and he is still coming to terms with the sad loss of Reeva. That is why it will be better for him to be back at training. It will be great to get him back to the track and get some routine. That’s why we are taking it day by day.

“I can’t see there would be any people saying this is disrespectful. This is not disrespectful to Reeva or her family. This has been part of his life for so many years. If it makes things easier for him to work through it and get some sense back into his life, let him run and let him jog. He’s a human being and that’s maybe an outlet for him.”

Despite reports today suggesting the 26-year-old will be given the green light to compete at the International Paralympic Committee’s World Athletics Champs in Lyon in July, the IPC has denied a decision has been made.

A spokesperson said: “The IPC management is yet to meet to discuss this issue so we are surprised as anyone to see this story today. We have not made any decision yet.”

While a return to training might be on the cards for Pistorius, who holds several IPC World Championship titles over 200 metres, 400m and 4x400m, Van Zyl revealed there is currently no plan regarding his competitive return, if he is invited to compete.

“We haven’t even spoken to him or contemplated him running in a competition,” Van Zyl said. “He has got to be able to train first and be in some decent form as a world-class athlete before we would allow him to run in a competition. We are not going to force him. We are going to be guided by him.”

Pistorius has not trained for two months since the tragic events on Valentine’s Day, and in order to return to competitive fitness he would need to train up to 35 hours a week on the track and in the gym. His last competitive race was his victory in the 400m final at the London Paralympics in September last year.