By Tom Degun

Oscar Pistorius trial 4May 5 - Ed Warner, chairman of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics sport technical committee, says there is still a chance that Oscar Pistorius could compete at the 2013 World Championships in Lyon this summer.

The 26-year-old six-time Paralympic champion from Johannesburg was charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February after she was shot dead inside his home but the double leg amputee sprinter was released on bail and recently saw his conditions relaxed following an appeal so that he can now travel abroad if he wishes.

Warner, who is also UK Athletics chairman, ensured that Pistorius was not invited to compete at the London Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford from July 26 until 28.

But he admitted that the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, which are due to take place from July 20 until 28, are a different story.

"It's obviously a very difficult situation with Oscar but there is a clear difference between an invitational meeting and a World Championships with regard to qualifying criteria and so forth," Warner told insidethegames.

"On the invitational side, we are not inviting him to our Anniversary Games because there would just be a media circus around him that would overshadow the achievements of all the other athletes.

"It would just be a one-person story for the whole event and that isn't what we want.

"But with the World Championships in Lyon, it is more difficult to say and I know a decision hasn't been made yet.

"It is difficult to second-guess what will happen as there are arguments on both sides but the onus is really on Oscar himself and the South African Federation over whether he actually wants to compete and whether they want to select him or not.

"So there is a chain here.

"It starts with the athlete himself and his Federation.

"They must decide what they want to do before it then goes to the IPC.

"So it might not be a quick decision and there are clearly many factors involved.

"When it is a discretionary invitation like with the Anniversary Games, we have not invited him, not because of innocence or guilt, but because of logistics and what it would do to the event.

"But a World Championships is different and we simply have to see what Oscar and the South African Federation decides before anything more happens with regard to him competing in Lyon."
Ed WarnerEd Warner, chairman of the IPC Athletics sport technical committee, says Oscar Pistorius could still compete at the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Lyon

Pistorius has long been the headline in attraction in Paralympic sport but Warner believes that even if the South African does not complete in Lyon, or ever again if he is found guilty of murder, disability sport can carry on without him following the huge success of London 2012.

"I think if this had all happened two years, it would be difficult to see how Paralympic sport could recover," Warner said.

"But now, I think Paralympic athletics has proven itself bigger than any single athlete.

"It Oscar never competes again, the Paralympic athletics movement will still continue to go from strength to strength.

"We saw a huge breath of talent at the London 2012 Paralympics and as we go forward to Rio, you will see Paralympic athletics really grow.

"It may sound harsh on Oscar, but the sport is now close to moving beyond him and any right-minded individual would say that is a good think, including I'm sure, the Pistorius camp themselves.

"That is vital because you cannot rely on the oxygen of a single individual in any sport and we have saw so much talent at the Paralympics last year that the public responded very positively to and I'm sure they will continue to do so."

Pistorius' next court appearance is scheduled for June 4 this year in Johannesburg.

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elated stoires
April 2013: Pistorius "not in full training" despite being pictured on the track
March 2013: Pistorius free to compete abroad after judge relaxes bail conditions
February 2013: Pistorius begins withdrawing from events after being left "numb with shock" following murder charge