Oscar Pistorius’ legal team won an appeal for more lenient bail conditions on Thursday, paving the way for the track star to travel outside South Africa to compete. Judge Bert Bam said Pistorius’ passport will be returned to his lawyer, Barry Roux, and he may use it to travel overseas, but he must report his travel plans at least a week before his departure. Pistorius must also return his passport to Roux within 24 hours of arriving back in South Africa after a trip.
Bam also said Pistorius can drink alcohol and is no longer required to check in at a local police station twice a week as previously stated by Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair. Pistorius can also return to his Pretoria home where he shot his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, to death on Valentine’s Day.
Pistorius' ability to travel while he awaits trial for Steenkamp’s death could allow him to compete at the Moscow World Championships in August. His agent, Peet van Zyl, said the decision to compete is entirely up to Pistorius, who hasn’t trained for two months or competed in 6 months.
"Based on this (judge's decision), and if he is up for it and qualifies, the world championships will definitely be on the radar," Van Zyl told the AP.
"He's going to be the one that determines running and training," Van Zyl added. "It's his call. He's the one under all the pressure for the court case and grieving for Reeva."
Pistorius has been charged with premeditated murder in Steenkamp’s shooting death. Prosecutors accuse him of purposely shooting Steenkamp through a bathroom door after a heated argument on February 14. The athlete insists Steenkamp’s death was an accident. In a written affidavit read at his bail hearings in February, Pistorius said he believed an intruder had broken into his home and was hiding in the bathroom. "I believed someone had entered my house. I was too scared to switch a light on. I grabbed my 9mm pistol from underneath my bed,” he explained.
Pistorius said Steenkamp, 29, died in his arms. "I returned to the bathroom and picked Reeva up as I had been told not to wait for the paramedics, but to take her to the hospital. I carried her downstairs in order to take her to the hospital. On my way down ... a doctor who lives in the complex also arrived. Downstairs, I tried to render the assistance to Reeva that I could, but she died in my arms,” he said.
"I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated,” Pistorius added. “I had no intention to kill my girlfriend. ... We were deeply in love and I could not be happier. I know she felt the same way.”
Pistorius is nicknamed Blade Runner and “the fastest man on no legs” because he sprints on carbon fiber blades. He was born with fibular hemimelia, or the absence of fibula, in both legs and had them amputated below the knee before his first birthday. He has competed in the Paralympics and became the first double amputee to sprint in the able-bodied Olympics.
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