By Mike Rowbottom

Oscar Pistorius, pictured in the 400m heats at the London 2012 Olympics, will be free to return to the track once he has satisfied the South African legal system, the IPC says ©Getty ImagesSix-times Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius, found guilty of culpable homicide by a Pretoria court, is free to return to top -evel competition as soon as he has served whatever punishment he receives, the International Paralympic Committee says.

The South African sprinter, who shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 last year, is due to receive his sentence from Judge Thokozile Masipa on October 13, which could range from anything to a fine to 15 years in prison. 

But a spokesman for the IPC has confirmed there will be no bar to him returning to the track as far as they are concerned, even as soon as Rio 2016 if he is free by then. 

"Yes, we would allow him to compete if he is clear to do so and has served his punishment," an IPC spokesman told insidethegames.

"We have got to allow him to compete once he has satisfied the requirements of the South African legal system.

"Obviously right now we have all got to wait to see what his sentence will be, whether it will be a custodial sentence, and if so for how long.

"He has to go fully through the South African legal process."

Oscar Pistorius, found guilty today of culpable homicide, will be able to return to athletics once he has served any punishment, the International Paralympic Committee says  ©Getty ImagesOscar Pistorius, found guilty today of culpable homicide, will be able to return to athletics once he has served any punishment, the International Paralympic Committee says
©Getty Images

The IPC spokesman added: "Before he sets foot on a track, however, there will be several hurdles ahead of him.

"Can still reach the qualifying criteria for either the Paralympics or World Championships?

"Will the South African Paralympic Committee [South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee] select him for events?

"And finally, perhaps most importantly, does Oscar Pistorius want to come back to competing?

"At the moment we don't know the answer to any of these questions.

"But regardless of what happens, you can't question what Oscar has done for the Paralympic Movement.

"That said, as the London 2012 Paralympics demonstrated, there are many stars now within the Movement."

Pistorius, known as "Blade Runner", won gold in the T44 200 metres at Athens 2004 before claiming three golds at Beijing 2008 in the T44 100m, 200m and 400m.

At London 2012 he won a further two gold medals in the T44 400m and the T42-T46 4x 100m relay.

In an earlier statement the IPC said: "Following today's verdict, our thoughts remain with all those who have been affected by this terrible tragedy, in particular the family and friends of Reeva Steenkamp who sadly lost her life in this incident.

"Throughout this case, the IPC has stressed the importance of differentiating between Oscar's contribution to the Paralympic Movement and his private life.

"As a sports organisation, it would be unwise for the IPC to comment on the conclusion of a court case that is not related to sport."

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