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Pistorius denies official's claim he asked to return to training

Christopher Torchia, Raf Casert

An official says athlete Oscar Pistorius informed authorities that he wants to return to training while on bail, a claim his spokesperson has denied.

Oscar Pistorius. (Gallo)

Pistorius on Monday alerted authorities to his wish to resume training while on bail for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the official said.

"It's his wish to continue to practice," said James Smalberger, chief deputy commissioner of the department of correctional services.

Smalberger said the issue came up because authorities needed to know his movements whenever he left the house where he is staying.

The timing of any resumption of training was uncertain.

A spokesperson for the Olympic runner however denied that he was making immediate plans to return to the track while awaiting trial for the February 14 death of Steenkamp.

"Absolutely not," said spokesperson Janine Hills. "He is currently in mourning and his focus is not on his sports."

The double-amputee Paralympian and Olympian discussed bail terms with his probation officer and a correctional services official at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court in the capital, according to officials. The guidelines will determine his daily routine until his next court appearance on June 4.

'Heartbroken'
Pistorius's longtime coach, Ampie Louw, declined to comment on any training plans for the runner, referring questions to a spokesperson for the athlete's family.

Louw said when the runner was detained he wanted to put him back into training in the event that he was granted bail. But he also said Pistorius could be "heartbroken" and unwilling to immediately run again.

Pistorius, who was released on bail on Friday, is staying at the house of his uncle, Arnold, in the affluent suburb of Waterkloof in Pretoria.

He was charged with premeditated murder in the killing of Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day. Prosecutors said the pair had an argument before Steenkamp was killed; Pistorius said he mistook her for an intruder and shot her accidentally. He faces life imprisonment if convicted.

Smalberger said officials will visit Pistorius at his uncle's home at least four times a month and that the runner indicated his interest in training again. More planning must occur before the start of any training.

Training programme
"We want a training programme from his coach so that we have backup for his movements," Smalberger said.

"He's not under house arrest but his movements need to be known to us so that we don't pitch there and he's not there," he said. "We agree on 'free time' normally during the course of the day and in the evening we expect him to be home."

Pistorius's 2013 season had been geared towards the August 10-18 World Championships in Moscow, where the South African 4x400 relay team will be trying for another medal to add to the silver it won at the 2011 edition.

Chief magistrate Desmond Nair set bail at R1-million. The 26-year-old track star was also ordered to hand over his passports, turn in any guns he owned and keep away from his upscale home in a gated community in Pretoria, the scene of the crime.

He cannot leave the district of Pretoria without his probation officer's permission and is not allowed to consume drugs or alcohol, the magistrate said. – Sapa-AP

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