Athletics

Oscar 'free' to run - IPC

Oscar Pistorius
Oscar Pistorius

Cape Town - Oscar Pistorius will be free to compete again once he has served any punishment for killing his girlfriend, the International Paralympic Committee said Friday.

The South African double-amputee runner was found guilty of culpable homicide in the shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp. His sentence hearing begins on October 13, with punishments ranging from a maximum prison sentence of 15 years to a suspended sentence.

"Providing he serves his sentence and he wants to compete, and if selected by the South African National Paralympic Committee, he will be free to compete in IPC competitions going forward," IPC spokesman Craig Spence said.

Spence said Pistorius, who has won six gold medals in three Paralympic Games, could not be denied the right to compete again as the IPC was not "responsible for the punishment — that has come from the South African courts."

"We are a sports organization," Spence said.

"We have to differentiate between sport and what's gone on in his private life."

Xavier Gonzalez, chief executive of the IPC, said Friday that Pistorius' murder trial "has not had any impact on our activities" because the organization is no longer dependent on the high profile of the South African.

"Oscar was a fundamental ambassador of the Paralympic movement in the period between 2008 and 2012," Gonzalez said. "Since then, the Paralympic movement has many other ambassadors and many other athletes that have been recognized globally and we believe that will continue growing as we lead up to 2016."

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