Pistorius begins withdrawing from events after being left "numb with shock" following murder charge
Sunday, 17 February 2013
February 17 - Oscar Pistorius' agent has begun cancelling races that the six-time Paralympic gold medallist was due to take part in this year after he was charged with murder over the death of his girlfriend on Valentine's Day, which has left him "numb with shock", according to his family.
Among the events that Pistorius has been pulled out of are a 150 metres street race in Manchester in May, where he was scheduled to face Britain's Jonnie Peacock, who beat him to win the gold medal in the 100m in the T44 category at London 2012.
The 26-year-old allegedly shot 29-year-old girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last Thursday (February 14) at his high-security home in the Silver Lakes complex in Pretoria.
An emotional Pistorius was subsequently charged of one count of premeditated murder at Pretoria Magistrates' Court the following day but the case has been adjourned to next Tuesday (February 19) as more evidence is gathered.
Speaking publicly for the first time since Steenkamp's death, Pistorius' uncle Arnold Pistorius shed light on the emotional state of the athlete and his family, expressing the total devastation the tragedy has caused.
"As you can imagine our entire family is devastated, we are in a state of total shock - firstly about the tragic death of Reeva, whom we had all got to know well and care for deeply over the last few months," he said, reading an emotional statement at his home in Pretoria.
"All of us saw at first-hand how close she had become to Oscar during that time and how happy they were.
"They had plans together and Oscar was happier in his private life than he had been for a long time.
"We are all grieving for Reeva, her family and her friends.
"Oscar, as you can imagine, is also numb with shock as well as grief.
"Obviously at the same time we, as a family, are also battling to come to terms with Oscar being charged with murder.
"Words cannot adequately describe our feelings.
"The lives of our entire family have been turned upside down for ever by this unimaginable human tragedy and Reeva's family have suffered a terrible loss.
"As a family we are trying to be strong and supportive to Oscar as any close family would be in these dreadful circumstances."
Pistorius' uncle also refuted the murder charge against his nephew, protesting his innocence.
"After consulting with legal representatives, we deeply regret the allegation of premeditated murder," he said.
"We have no doubt there is no substance to the allegation and that the state's own case, including its own forensic evidence, strongly refutes any possibility of a premeditated murder or indeed any murder at all."
Even if Pistorius is subsequently freed to continue his career, it seems unlikely that he will compete again in the near future.
Among events cancelled was a scheduled race against Alan Oliveira, who controversially beat him to win the 200m at London 2012, on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro on March 31 to help promote the 2016 Paralympics.
Peet van Zyl, whose company In-Site Athlete Management arranges Pistorius' race schedule, claimed that his client had be to be in the right frame of mind before he could even think about returning to the track.
"I will only have him run when he is in a condition to run as a world-class athlete," he told Associated Press.
"Physically and mentally fit."
Pistorius had been due to launch his 2013 season with two appearances in Australia, the first at Sydney on March 9 with the second in Perth on March 16.
February 2013: Pistorius faces "premeditated murder" charge
February 2013: World of sport rocked by Pistorius murder charge
February 2013: Pistorius charged with murder after shooting girlfriend dead