Oscar up for 2020 Olympics

Sas­coc chief sees no rea­son ath­lete can’t take part af­ter re­lease

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SAMEER NAIK

CON­VICTED mur­derer Oscar Pis­to­rius could be strap­ping on his blades again for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Sports con­trol­ling body SA Sports Con­fed­er­a­tion & Olympic Com­mit­tee (Sas­coc) looks set to wel­come him with open arms when he’s re­leased from prison. But some have greeted the prospect with rage.

In an in­ter­view with UK on­line pub­li­ca­tion MailOn­line yes­ter­day, Tubby Reddy, the Olympic body’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said the dis­graced ath­lete could play a part at the 2020 Tokyo Games as he would have “paid his debt” to so­ci­ety and would be free to take part. Reddy’s shock com­ment comes days af­ter Pis­to­rius was handed a six-year sen­tence by Judge Thokozile Masipa at the North Gaut­eng High Court in Pre­to­ria, af­ter his orig­i­nal five-year con­vic­tion of cul­pa­ble homi­cide was changed to mur­der on ap­peal last year.

Pis­to­rius, 29, shot his girl­friend, Reeva Steenkamp, four times through a locked bath­room door in Fe­bru­ary 2013.

Reddy told the pub­li­ca­tion he had “no prob­lem” with the idea of the Blade Run­ner re­turn­ing to the na­tional team and rep­re­sent­ing his coun­try at the high­est level.

He added Pis­to­rius may serve just one more year in jail, which would give him time to train and qual­ify for the Tokyo Games.

“He would have paid his debt to so­ci­ety and will be back in so­ci­ety, liv­ing as a nor­mal South African cit­i­zen. There is no rule that says he wouldn’t be able to par­tic­i­pate,” Reddy said.

“Yes, the sen­tence he has been given has di­vided opin­ion – there are those who are happy about it and there are those who are un­happy, and you will always have that.

“But if he is out on pa­role, as it seems he will be be­fore then, and qual­i­fies for se­lec­tion, then I don’t see how there can be a prob­lem – why not?

“He would have to train and get his men­tal strength back, but those are chal­lenges he would have to set­tle for him­self.”

When Week­end Ar­gus sis­ter ti­tle the Satur­day Star con­tacted of­fi­cials at the Olympic body yes­ter­day, they re­fused to com­ment on the mat­ter.

“Un­for­tu­nately we re­spond at the mo­ment. can­not

“It will only be rel­e­vant once Oscar has been re­leased from prison, so up un­til such a time, Sas­coc will not be re­spond­ing to such in­quiries,” a Sas­coc spokesper­son said. Twit­ter re­sponded in anger to the no­tion Pis­to­rius’s ca­reer could be res­ur­rected.

Lu Ja­cobs tweeted: “Tubby Reddy, CEO of South African Sports Con­fed­er­a­tion & Olympic Com­mit­tee says he’ll wel­come #Os­carPis­to­rius back for 2020. .”

Oth­ers mocked Pis­to­rius, ask­ing if it would be par­tic­i­pa­tion in the shoot­ing codes, while @SA prob­lems tweeted: “There will be riots in SA. I doubt he would even be con­sid­ered.”

Le­gal ex­pert Piet du Plessis said once Pis­to­rius com­pleted a year in jail, he would be al­lowed to re­turn to court for the judge to con­sider house ar­rest, ac­cord­ing to the Pa­role and Cor­rec­tional Su­per­vi­sion Amend­ment Act 87 of 1997.

“Once he has done one year he is in the same po­si­tion as the Waterk­loof Four and can be re­ferred back to the judge to con­sider house ar­rest.”

Au­thor­i­ties could al­low house ar­rest to in­clude per­mis­sion to train as he was al­lowed to do in Oc­to­ber.

“That was in fact his po­si­tion af­ter he was re­leased hav­ing served 10 months.

“He has a track record of com­ply­ing with all his con­di­tions when pre­vi­ously re­leased. I think he has a strong case for applying for this,” Du Plessis added.

Le­gal ex­pert ad­vo­cate Man­nie Witz be­lieved Pis­to­rius would have to serve at least half his six-year jail sen­tence be­fore applying for pa­role or cor­rec­tional su­per­vi­sion.

“He will have to serve a min­i­mum three years be­fore he can be­come el­i­gi­ble for pa­role.

“And if he has prob­lems within cor­rec­tive ser­vices it would af­fect his re­lease,” Witz said.

Le­gal ex­pert Ul­rich Roux agreed, adding pa­role would de­pend on sev­eral fac­tors, in­clud­ing whether Pis­to­rius com­pleted re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive pro­grammes, his be­havioural re­ports from prison of­fi­cials, par­tic­i­pa­tion in of­fi­cial prison ac­tiv­i­ties, as­sist­ing other in­mates, the wishes of the Steenkamp fam­ily and their at­ti­tude to his re­lease on pa­role, and any spe­cial interest or re­quests by other bod­ies with a def­i­nite interest. – Ad­di­tional re­port­ing

by Sheree Bega

‘He would have

Oscar Pis­to­rius on the track in his hey­day.

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