(Reuters) - Oscar Pistorius’s family issued a statement on Thursday denying the Olympic and Paralympic ‘Blade Runner’ was back in training for the first time since he was charged with murdering his girlfriend.
South African newspapers had published a grainy photograph, reportedly taken by a visiting schoolgirl, of the double amputee in running gear and wearing his carbon-fiber blades on a Pretoria University running track last month.
”Oscar is not back on any official training program,“ the family statement said. ”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 traumatized 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.
“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,” it added.
The family said they had encouraged him to start exercising as a way to help deal with the trauma and “stabilize him emotionally”.
Pistorius, who won worldwide fame by reaching the semi-finals of the 400m at last year’s London Olympics, had his bail conditions relaxed on March 28. The 26-year-old was granted permission to travel abroad and told he no longer needed to report to a probation officer.
The move opened up the possibility that he could return to competition this year, including the world championships in August.
Pistorius cancelled scheduled appearances in March, April and May in Australia, Brazil, the United States and Britain after his arrest for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day (Feb 14).
Prosecutors said he committed premeditated murder when he fired four shots into a locked toilet door, hitting 29-year-old Steenkamp as she cowered on the other side. She suffered gunshot wounds to her head, hip and arm.
Pistorius has said the killing was a tragic mistake and that he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder and opened fire in a blind panic.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar