Oscar Pistorius wants to train again and recently went back to visit his regular track in South Africa’s capital, the double-amputee athlete’s agent said on Wednesday.
There was still no decision on an exact time-frame for the multiple Paralympic champion’s return to regular running, but Pistorius told his agent Peet van Zyl and longtime coach Ampie Louw at a Tuesday meeting that he was “definitely keen to get back on track to resume training,” the agent said.
“When, exactly, is his choice,” Van Zyl said.
Pistorius had also revisited his practice track in Pretoria on March 24, although he didn’t train, the agent said.
Pistorius last trained on a track over two months ago, and his last competitive race was his victory in the 400 meters final at the London Paralympics in September last year.
Van Zyl said Pistorius wasn’t ready “mentally” to compete yet after he was charged with murder in the February 14 shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home.
“From our meeting, it was clear and evident it’s going to take some time for him [to be ready to compete],” Van Zyl said. “He’s trying to process this whole ordeal.”
Pistorius had also told his agent and coach that he would only consider going to the world championships in Moscow in August if he was in the right shape to run at the top level again.
“He [Pistorius] stated to me clearly yesterday, for the world champs, first he needs to be in some form,” Van Zyl said.
Van Zyl would approach race promoters regarding a return to competition for the world’s most famous disabled athlete only when Pistorius indicated that he was ready, he said. The agent had not been in contact with any meet organisers yet.
“There are sensitivity issues, but at the end of the day it’s these guys’ [race organisers] decisions,” Van Zyl said.
Still, Pistorius’ first significant move toward a return to the track on his carbon fiber running blades came at the meeting with his management team at the home of his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, on Tuesday night. The 26-year-old Olympian has been staying at the house in the eastern suburbs of Pretoria since he was freed on bail on Feb. 22.
Pistorius denies murdering Steenkamp and says he shot her accidentally after mistaking her for an intruder in his house. Prosecutors have charged him with premeditated murder and say he intentionally shot Steenkamp multiple times through a door inside his bathroom after the couple argued in the early hours of Valentine’s Day.
His next court appearance is June 4, where prosecutors aim to serve indictments. Pistorius’ murder trial may not begin until the end of the year, or even early next year.
Pistorius had visited his training track at the University of Pretoria with some other athletes just under two weeks ago, but hadn’t worked out properly, only doing a little jogging, Van Zyl said. Although a high court ruling last week eased Pistorius’ bail restrictions on appeal and allowed him to travel to compete and earn a living, Van Zyl said it would still take time to be ready for track meets.
“He hasn’t trained at all since the incident and you can’t expect him to go into competition. More important, mentally he is not there yet, he is some way off,” the agent said.
But longtime coach Louw, who discovered the double amputee’s talent for running when he was still a teenager, was eager for the athlete to get back to training to help his mental process, and Pistorius’ return to track may not be far off.
“Ampie was quite keen for him to start training as soon as possible so Oscar can get into some kind of routine,” Van Zyl said.
Also on Wednesday, the culpable homicide trial of Pistorius’ older brother, Carl, was postponed until April 25.
Carl Pistorius last week pleaded not guilty to a main charge of culpable homicide, or negligent killing, relating to a road accident in 2008. He also pleaded not guilty to two alternative charges of driving his SUV recklessly and without consideration.
He is accused of causing the death of a woman motorcyclist in the road accident in Vanderbijlpark, a city south of Johannesburg.
Carl Pistorius’ lawyers say the 36-year-old woman who died, Maria Barnard, was riding recklessly and may have consumed alcohol before the crash five years ago.