Pistorius: Future races canceled

GERALD IMRAY AP Sports Writer Published:

JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- Oscar Pistorius' agent has canceled all future track races so the double-amputee Olympian can focus on the murder charge against him, underscoring the possibility the disabled sports icon might never again run competitively on his famous carbon fiber blades.

Pistorius is defending himself against allegations he murdered his model girlfriend by shooting her several times in his upscale house on Valentine's Day morning.

Reeva Steenkamp died from gunshot wounds suffered inside Pistorius' home in the predawn hours of Thursday. Pistorius was arrested and charged with her murder the same day. His family denies he murdered her.

"I have decided that following these tragic events that we have no option but to cancel all future races that Oscar Pistorius had been contracted to compete in," agent Peet van Zyl said in a written statement late Sunday night.

A few hours earlier, Van Zyl had visited his athlete at a police station in the South African capital, Pretoria, where he is being held in custody in a red-bricked, one-story building with green metal fencing.

Pistorius has been there since Friday following the shocking developments at his villa in a gated community in Pretoria's eastern suburbs where Steenkamp was shot dead.

Her death and Pistorius' arrest stunned South Africans, who revered Pistorius for his humble nature and success at overcoming adversity to become an international star, despite having his lower legs amputated as a baby.

Pistorius still had "overwhelming support" from his fans, Van Zyl said as he left Brooklyn police station, but the agent steered away from a question from a reporter on what Pistorius' emotional state was now like following the death of his girlfriend and a possible realization that his entire career was in ruins.

Pistorius' sponsors -- including big-name brands Nike and eyewear manufacturer Oakley -- were also sticking by him, Van Zyl said. But that could depend on the outcome of a possibly lengthy murder trial.

"Regarding sponsors and partners, I can confirm that at this point in time, all parties are supportive and their contractual commitments are maintained," Van Zyl's In Site Athlete Management company said. "They have said they are happy to let the legal process takes its course before making any change in their position."

The Beaverton, Ore-based Nike Inc. and Foothill Ranch, Calif.-based Oakley Inc. did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Pistorius was quickly arrested and charged with murder Thursday, with prosecutors saying at his first court appearance a day later that they would pursue a more serious premeditated murder charge, which carries a life sentence.

Family members and his lawyers also visited Pistorius on Sunday, but declined comment both when they arrived and when they left the city center police station.

The family of Steenkamp, a model, law graduate and budding reality TV star, told The Associated Press that her body had been released by police after an autopsy and was back in their hometown of Port Elizabeth on South Africa's southern coast.

"Reeva is back home," the late model's brother, Adam Steenkamp, told the AP by phone. He had flown back from Britain, where he now lives, to be with the family.

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