South African Paralympic Oscar Pistorius appears to be back at the track for the first time since he was charged with murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day this year.
Oscar Pistorius, 26, is pictured with his hands on his hips wearing his blades as he walks across a running track as his agent said his return to training was imminent.
The double amputee Olympian is keen to begin training again – just weeks after he appeared weeping in court charged with the death of Reeva Steenkamp and despite facing a murder trial.
The Afrikaans-language Beeld newspaper printed the image of what it said was Oscar Pistorius on the front page of its Thursday edition.
In the photo, Oscar Pistorius is seen from some distance wearing his blades and dark lycra running clothes and is walking on a track with his hands on his hips.
The Beeld said the photo was taken on March 24 by a high school student visiting the University of Pretoria, where Oscar Pistorius’ regular practice facility is.
It was the first time Oscar Pistorius had put his blades on since he shot dead Reeva Steenkamp in his home his agent, Peet van Zyl, said, but it was not a training session.
Oscar Pistorius was only “having a jog around the track”, the agent said, as the newspaper claimed sources had told it the Olympic 400-meter runner and Paralympic champion had begun full training on March 21.
Peet Van Zyl disputed that and said neither he nor Ampie Louw, Oscar Pistorius’ coach and the man who controls his training sessions, were present at the track on the day the photograph was taken.
The single photo, a grainy image taken through a metal fence showing Oscar Pistorius walking on the far side of the track, was accompanied by a front-page story under the headlines “Oscar is back on the track” and “In training with other athletes”.
However, while Oscar Pistorius wasn’t yet in a training routine, his return could be any day now, his agent said.
“He was just having a jog around his track on his own accord. He wasn’t back at training,” Peet Van Zyl said.
“That picture was taken by a schoolkid on March 24. Myself, Oscar and his coach had a meeting on Tuesday to discuss him getting him back to training.
“Based on that he told us he would like to get back in training and we can now look at formulating his training schedule.
“He is finding it very difficult and he is still coming to terms with the sad loss of Reeva. That is why it will be better for him to be back at training. It will be great to get him back to the track and get some routine. That’s why we are taking it day by day.”
While a return to training might be on the cards for Oscar Pistorius, who holds several IPC World Championship titles over 200 metres, 400m and 4x400m, Peet Van Zyl revealed there is currently no plan regarding his competitive return, if he is invited to compete.
“We haven’t even spoken to him or contemplated him running in a competition,” Peet Van Zyl said.
“He has got to be able to train first and be in some decent form as a world-class athlete before we would allow him to run in a competition.
“If he trains well and his mindset is right then by all means we will look at competitions and options. When that will be we don’t know. It could happen quickly or it could take a year.
“But at the moment, there is no specific date when it comes to him returning to training.
“In the current state he is in he might get up tomorrow and give the coach a phone call and say he might want to train again. He then might not want to train for a few days.
“We are not going to force him. We are going to be guided by him.”
Oscar Pistorius’ family also said: “Oscar is not back on any official training programme.
“This may change in future, but this will be a decision taken by Oscar, and Oscar alone. At this point Oscar is still in an extremely traumatized state and has made it clear to all of us that he is not able or willing to even contemplate this issue at this stage.
“We can confirm that we did have a meeting with Oscar yesterday where various family members and his trainer were present.
“We all encouraged him to get back onto the track to help stabilize him emotionally.
“Oscar has been out running on a number of isolated occasions in the days following the relaxation of his bail conditions, but each time has been very difficult and he has <<struggled immensely>> with the decision to even leave the house.
“As a family however we encourage him to start exercising as we believe it is a vital step in helping him deal with the trauma.”
Peet Van Zyl insisted Oscar Pistorius’ desire to start training again did not show disrespect to the family of Reeva Steenkamp.
“I can’t see there would be any people saying this is disrespectful. This is not disrespectful to Reeva or her family.
“This has been part of his life for so many years. If it makes things easier for him to work through it and get some sense back into his life, let him run and let him jog.
“He’s a human being and that’s maybe an outlet for him.”
Oscar Pistorius denies murder in the Valentine’s Day killing of model Reeva Steenkamp, saying he mistook her for a nighttime intruder in his home.
The athlete’s next scheduled court appearance is June 4, when prosecutors say they intend to serve indictments.
Oscar Pistorius is free to compete in the UK this summer after a judge relaxed his bail terms in March to allow him to make money.
It is certain to prove controversial as it potentially paves the way for Oscar Pistorius, one of the world’s most successful athletes, to earn vast sums of money while he is awaiting trial.