Pistorius says he wants to train again
Johannesburg • 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 told The Associated Press 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 told the AP in Wednesday's telephone interview.
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 Feb. 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 running at 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.
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 after the couple argued in the early hours of Valentine's Day.
His next court appearance is June 4.
Pistorius had visited his training track at the University of Pretoria with some other athletes, 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, 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.
Longtime coach Louw, who discovered the double amputee's talent for running when he was still a teenager, was eager, however, for the athlete to get back to training to help his mental process.
"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.