Agent cancels all future races for Pistorius

Peet van Zyl said he would cancel all races to "allow Oscar to concentrate on the upcoming legal proceedings"

Topics: Oscar Pistorius, reeva steenkamp, ,

Agent cancels all future races for Pistorius (Credit: AP)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Oscar Pistorius’ track career was put on hold indefinitely Sunday as his agent canceled all future races so the double-amputee Olympian can focus on defending himself against his murder charge.

After visiting Pistorius at the police station he is being held at, agent Peet van Zyl said in a statement there is “no option but to cancel all future races that Oscar Pistorius had been contracted to compete in to allow Oscar to concentrate on the upcoming legal proceedings.”

Pistorius was arrested and charged with the Valentine’s Day murder of model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot multiple times at Pistorius’ upscale Pretoria home in the early hours of Thursday.

Pistorius has been held since Friday at the Brooklyn police station in the South African capital, where Van Zyl visited Sunday along with memebers of Pistorius’ family and his legal team.

“The nature of my visit today was two-fold,” Van Zyl said. “On a personal level I wanted to offer my support to Oscar, who I have known and worked with for the last seven years and consider a friend and a great professional athlete.

“Secondly, I wanted to briefly discuss racing matters, given that his key focus is defending himself against this serious charge.”

Van Zyl said Pistorius’ endorsements, including with big-name brands such as Nike and Oakley, were safe for now since sponsors have committed themselves to the South African, despite his murder charge. That could change, depending on the outcome of Pistorius’ case.

“I can confirm that at this point in time all parties are supportive and their contractual commitments are maintained,” Van Zyl said. “They have said they are happy to let the legal process take its course before making any change in their position.”

On the track, Pistorius had finalized agreements for five races for the first half of 2013: two in Australia in March to start the South African’s season, two exhibition runs against fellow Paralympic champions Alan Oliveira and Jonnie Peacock, and an appearance at the U.S. Drake Relays in Iowa.

Van Zyl’s move to cancel those races was first reported by The Associated Press on Saturday.

All future races were now called off, Van Zyl said, including others that were still being discussed. Van Zyl said the decision is “to help and support all those involved as they try to come to terms with this very difficult and distressing situation.”



Pistorius’ famed track career, where he was the first amputee athlete to run at the world championships and at the Olympics, is now facing ruin ahead of a possible lengthy murder trial.

Prosecutors also have said they will pursue a more serious charge of premeditated murder against Pistorius for the killing of Steenkamp, meaning a conviction could result in a life sentence. His family denies he committed murder.

The 26-year-old Pistorius was expected to reappear in court on Tuesday for the start of his bail application hearing.

“On Oscar’s behalf, we, as his management company, would like to formally thank the thousands of people who have sent supportive messages which have come from all over the world,” Van Zyl said.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 7
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    AP/Jae C. Hong

    Your summer in extreme weather

    California drought

    Since May, California has faced a historic drought, resulting in the loss of 63 trillion gallons of water. 95.4 percent of the state is now experiencing "severe" drought conditions, which is only a marginal improvement from 97.5 percent last week.

    A recent study published in the journal Science found that the Earth has actually risen about 0.16 inches in the past 18 months because of the extreme loss of groundwater. The drought is particularly devastating for California's enormous agriculture industry and will cost the state $2.2 billion this year, cutting over 17,000 jobs in the process.

       

    Meteorologists blame the drought on a large zone (almost 4 miles high and 2,000 miles long) of high pressure in the atmosphere off the West Coast which blocks Pacific winter storms from reaching land. High pressure zones come and go, but this one has been stationary since December 2012.

    Darin Epperly

    Your summer in extreme weather

    Great Plains tornadoes

    From June 16-18 this year, the Midwest was slammed by a series of four tornadoes, all ranking as category EF4--meaning the winds reached up to 200 miles per hour. An unlucky town called Pilger in Nebraska was hit especially hard, suffering through twin tornadoes, an extreme event that may only occur every few decades. The two that swept through the town killed two people, injured 16 and demolished as many as 50 homes.   

    "It was terribly wide," local resident Marianne Pesotta said to CNN affiliate KETV-TV. "I drove east [to escape]. I could see how bad it was. I had to get out of there."   

    But atmospheric scientist Jeff Weber cautions against connecting these events with climate change. "This is not a climate signal," he said in an interview with NBC News. "This is a meteorological signal."

    AP/Detroit News, David Coates

    Your summer in extreme weather

    Michigan flooding

    On Aug. 11, Detroit's wettest day in 89 years -- with rainfall at 4.57 inches -- resulted in the flooding of at least five major freeways, leading to three deaths, more than 1,000 cars being abandoned on the road and thousands of ruined basements. Gov. Rick Snyder declared it a disaster. It took officials two full days to clear the roads. Weeks later, FEMA is finally set to begin assessing damage.   

    Heavy rainfall events are becoming more and more common, and some scientists have attributed the trend to climate change, since the atmosphere can hold more moisture at higher temperatures. Mashable's Andrew Freedman wrote on the increasing incidence of this type of weather: "This means that storms, from localized thunderstorms to massive hurricanes, have more energy to work with, and are able to wring out greater amounts of rain or snow in heavy bursts. In general, more precipitation is now coming in shorter, heavier bursts compared to a few decades ago, and this is putting strain on urban infrastructure such as sewer systems that are unable to handle such sudden influxes of water."

    AP/The Fresno Bee, Eric Paul Zamora

    Your summer in extreme weather

    Yosemite wildfires

    An extreme wildfire burning near Yosemite National Park forced authorities to evacuate 13,000 nearby residents, while the Madera County sheriff declared a local emergency. The summer has been marked by several wildfires due to California's extreme drought, which causes vegetation to become perfect kindling.   

    Surprisingly, however, firefighters have done an admirable job containing the blazes. According to the L.A. Times, firefighters with the state's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection have fought over 4,000 fires so far in 2014 -- an increase of over 500 fires from the same time in 2013.

    Reuters/Eugene Tanner

    Your summer in extreme weather

    Hawaii hurricanes

    Hurricane Iselle was set to be the first hurricane to make landfall in Hawaii in 22 years. It was downgraded to a tropical storm and didn't end up being nearly as disastrous as it could have been, but it still managed to essentially shut down the entire state for a day, as businesses and residents hunkered down in preparation, with many boarding up their windows to guard against strong gusts. The storm resulted in downed trees, 21,000 people out of power and a number of damaged homes.

    Debbie Arita, a local from the Big Island described her experience: "We could hear the wind howling through the doors. The light poles in the parking lot were bobbing up and down with all the wind and rain."

    Reuters/NASA

    Your summer in extreme weather

    Florida red tide

    A major red tide bloom can reach more than 100 miles along the coast and around 30 miles offshore. Although you can't really see it in the above photo, the effects are devastating for wildlife. This summer, Florida was hit by an enormous, lingering red tide, also known as a harmful algae bloom (HAB), which occurs when algae grow out of control. HABs are toxic to fish, crabs, octopuses and other sea creatures, and this one resulted in the death of thousands of fish. When the HAB gets close enough to shore, it can also have an effect on air quality, making it harder for people to breathe.   

    The HAB is currently closest to land near Pinellas County in the Gulf of Mexico, where it is 5-10 miles offshore.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>