PRETORIA, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius could compete at this year’s world championships after a South African judge eased his bail restrictions and ruled Thursday that the athlete, who faces a murder trial for the shooting death of his girlfriend, can travel overseas to run.
The international athletics body said that if Pistorius qualifies, it had no objections to him running — an event that could eclipse the stir last year when he became the first double amputee to compete at the Olympics. Pistorius’ agent told The Associated Press soon after the ruling that the world championships in Moscow in August could be a possibility if the runner wanted to return to the track on his carbon fiber blades.
Judge Bert Bam upheld the Olympic athlete’s appeal against some of his bail restrictions, but said the 26-year-old Pistorius must travel under certain conditions. The athlete could face a life sentence if found guilty of murder for the Valentine’s Day shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp.
His passport will be held by a court while he is in South Africa, and he can leave the country only if he provides an itinerary of his travel plans at least a week before he is due to leave. Pistorius also must hand his travel documents back to the court within 24 hours of returning home, Bam ruled.
“Based on this (the judge’s decision), and if he is up for it and qualifies, the world championships will definitely be on the radar,” Pistorius’ agent, Peet van Zyl, told the AP by telephone.
The judge’s decision was “fair,” Van Zyl said, but any return to track would be up to Pistorius, who hasn’t run competitively since September and hasn’t trained for two months. The worlds are in August, while Pistorius’ next court appearance is June 4.
Although Pistorius’ lawyers said in the appeal hearing that he had no immediate plans to compete, he would likely need to return to track in the future to earn money, they said. Pistorius, widely known as the Blade Runner for his prosthetic legs, did not attend the court session.
Pistorius says he killed Steenkamp accidentally when he fired shots through a door in his bathroom in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14, fearing there was an intruder in his house.
Prosecutors say he shot the model and reality TV star intentionally after they argued, and they have charged him with premeditated murder.
d the appeal should have gone to the original magistrate’s court that set bail for Pistorius, and not Pretoria’s high court. Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair imposed the bail conditions on Feb. 22. Pistorius had been held in a police station until then. He hasn’t been seen in public since and is believed to have been staying at an uncle’s house.