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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Athletics

The sheen’s off scarred Oscar
The Guardian
Johannesburg, March 30, 2013
First Published: 00:26 IST(30/3/2013)
Last Updated: 00:28 IST(30/3/2013)

The sporting world has given the cold shoulder to Oscar Pistorius after a court in South Africa allowed the Olympic and Paralympic star to return to international competition.

Organisers of major athletics meetings now face a dilemma over whether to invite the 26-year-old to race. Many privately admit that they are reluctant to welcome Pistorius, who is awaiting trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home last month.

British Athletics declined to comment on the issue, but sources close to the governing body say Pistorius is unlikely to receive an invitation to run at the London Anniversary Games, to be held in the Olympic Stadium on July 27, or at the Birmingham Grand Prix on June 30.

No chance
Pistorius was a headline act at two prominent Diamond League meetings in the United States last year — New York and Eugene — but he is unlikely to be welcomed back to either this year. Organisers for the two events refused to comment publicly, but one source said: “My gut feeling is that it would be completely unrealistic.”

The official line from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the sport's governing body, is that it will not dictate to meeting organisers which athletes they invite to their events.

Impending risk
But it is believed that any organisers who do invite Pistorius will risk incurring the wrath of the authorities, who fear an onslaught of negative publicity for the sport. An IAAF spokesperson said: “All invitations are at the discretion of the meeting organisers, and not the IAAF.”

It is believed that the governing body is planning talks with federation members and key meeting organisers to dissuade them from extending an invitation to Pistorius.


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