Oscar Pistorius’ running mate, Ofentse Mogawane, is struggling to digest the news that the man nicknamed the Blade Runner is making headlines for allegedly killing his girlfriend.
Mogawane, the runner who made glowing headlines with Pistorius in the SA 4x400m relay team at major track events, said he was in shock but he would offer support to the Tuks Athletics runner.
Pistorius allegedly shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp at his house in Pretoria in the early hours of the morning.
He has reportedly claimed he mistook her for an intruder.
Said Mogawane: “My phone was flooded with SMSes and calls as my friends wanted to (know) if it was true about what they had heard in the news. I called Oscar at around 6am but he didn’t have much to say except to say he was also in shock. I have known Oscar as a humble person who always liked to engage people around him. What has happened is very unfortunate and he (needs) support at the moment. People should not rush to judge him until everyone hears his side of the story.”
Mogawane, a national team-mate of Pistorius for the past five years, said they were looking forward to the build-up to the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, in August.
The two ran the crucial legs as the team clocked a new national record 2:59.21 to qualify for the final of the worlds in Daegu, South Korea in 2011.
The team, made up of Pistorius (first leg), Mogawane (second leg), Willie de Beer (third leg) and Shane Victor (anchor) bettered the 3:00.20 mark set by Jopie van Oudtshoorn, Hendrick Mokganyetsi, Adriaan Botha and Arnaud Malherbe in 1999.
Tuks athletics manager Danie Cornelius said: “I don’t have any inside news on exact circumstances but it is sad and we want to convey our condolences to her relatives, family and friends in this difficult time. We are all saddened (by the) news we received. Our thoughts are with him.”
Pistorius (26) was preparing to race at the Sydney and Perth meetings of the 2013 Qantas Australian Athletics Tour on March 9 and 16 as part of his preparations for the upcoming South African track and field season.
He ran the fastest 400m time last season: 45.20.