Oscar urged to earn income

2013-03-30 13:27
Oscar Pistorius (Picture: AP)

Oscar Pistorius (Picture: AP)

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Johannesburg – The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said that Oscar Pistorius, whose bail conditions have been relaxed, would be allowed to compete in this summer’s competitions if he qualified.

Although the Paralympian’s family says he has no plans to compete overseas now, his lawyers successfully argued that he should be allowed to travel abroad and “earn income” while awaiting trial, IOL reported.

Yannis Nikolau, spokesperson for the ruling body, said that Pistorius would be “free to run on the basis of the innocent-until-proven-guilty principle”.

There is also the possibility that Pistorius, who can receive tens of thousands of pounds in appearance money, could compete in the British Athletics Birmingham Grand Prix at the end of June.

Pistorius,26,  is charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot after she locked herself in his bathroom early on Valentine’s Day. He claims he mistook her for an intruder.

The Olympic and Paralympic athlete was not present as Judge Bert Bam told North Gauteng High Court that bail restrictions should be eased to allow Pistorius to travel abroad to compete at international athletics meetings, provided he handed over a detailed itinerary at least a week before his departure.

At Thursday’s bail appeal hearing, Pistorius’ lawyer, Barry Roux, said that while his client had no immediate plans to compete, it is likely he would need to return to the track to earn money.

Pistorius had endorsements and sponsorships from sportswear giant Nike, British telecoms firm BT, sunglasses maker Oakley and French designer Thierry Mugler and earned more than R5m a year. He owns properties worth millions of rand.

Nike, Mugler and cosmetics firm Clarins have all dropped him from advertising campaigns.

Since his arrest the Paralympic gold medallist has sold assets including a share in a racehorse and property.

“He is not going to run away and hide. He is going nowhere,” Roux told the judge.

“It’s only, only, only to earn income… No other reason and under controlled circumstances. Why stop him from travelling under controlled circumstances?”

London games

British newspapers speculated that the return of his passport, to be held by his lawyer, clears the way for him to take part in London’s showpiece athletics event at the Olympic Stadium.

It is certain to prove controversial as it potentially paves the way for Pistorius, one of the world’s most successful athletes, to earn vast sums of money while he is awaiting trial.

Although charged with murder, Pistorius has not been convicted of any crime and would be allowed to enter Britain.

It is now likely that he will compete at the London Anniversary Games, which take place from 26 to 28 July at the Olympic Stadium.

It is also the last major athletics event before the World Championships in Moscow two weeks later.

Significantly, Pistorius’ agent, Peet van Zyl, said on Thursday that the competitions could be “on the radar” for the athlete, who last year became the first to take part in both an Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Read more on:    iaaf  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  barry roux
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