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South Africa’s Pistorius seeks early release 10 years after killing girlfriend

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Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius reacts as Judge Thokozile Masipa (unseen) delivers her verdict at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria September 12, 2014. REUTERS/Alon Skuy/Pool

Former South Africa paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, jailed in 2016 for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will ask a parole board on Friday to release him early from prison, lawyers and prison officials said.

Steenkamp’s family oppose his bid and will give verbal and written statements at the hearing on the impact the murder had on them, their lawyer Tania Koen told Reuters.

“June is not looking forward to it, but doing it for Reeva,” Koen said on Thursday, referring to Reeva’s mother June Steenkamp.

Pistorius, behind bars for almost seven years, became eligible for parole after serving half of his 13-year prison sentence.

He met Reeva Steenkamp’s father last year when participating in a process known as victim-offender dialogue – part of South Africa’s restorative justice programme that brings parties affected by a crime together in a bid to achieve closure.

The closed-door parole board meeting is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. local time (0800 GMT) at the Atteridgeville prison near capital Pretoria.

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The independent parole board must determine, among other issues, whether Pistorius is at risk of committing similar crimes in the future, prison spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said.

It will also consider his disciplinary record, training programmes in prison and his physical and mental state, prison officials said.

Pistorius’ lawyer, Julian Knight, told Reuters he was not in a “position to comment until such time as the Parole Board has made a decision”.

The athlete, known as “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fibre prosthetic legs, went from public hero to convicted murderer in a trial that drew worldwide interest.

Once the darling of the Paralympic movement for pushing for greater recognition and acceptance of disabled athletes, Pistorius shot dead Steenkamp, a model and law student, in his bathroom on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

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Gun enthusiast Pistorius told the court he had believed Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her several times with ammunition designed to inflict maximum damage to the human body.

He was jailed in 2016, initially for a six-year term, but had this sentence increased to 13 years after an appeal by prosecutors who argued the initial sentence was too lenient.

-Reuters

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Athletics

Behold, CAS statement on Tobi Amusan

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Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan is the winner as the Court of Arbitration for Sports, CAS has rejected the appeals filed by World Athletics and  WADA.

The decision confirms the decision taken by the World Athletics disciplinary tribunal finding that Tobi Amusan did not commit any anti-doping rule violation.

Here is the full statement of CAS.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeals filed by

World Athletics (WA) and by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the decision issued on 17 August 2023 (the Challenged Decision) by the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal (WADT) in relation to the hurdler Oluwatobiloba (Tobi) Amusan (Nigeria).

Accordingly, the Challenged Decision in which the WADT considered that Tobi Amusan did not violate Rule 2.4 of the WA Anti-Doping Rules (WA ADR) and that no period of ineligibility should be imposed on the Athlete is confirmed.

The Athlete was initially charged with committing an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) under Rule 2.4 WA ADR following three alleged Whereabouts Failures within a 12-month period.

In their respective appeal to CAS, WA and WADA had sought the imposition of a two-year period of ineligibility. The CAS Panel held a hearing on 19 January 2024. Having deliberated, the CAS Panel has issued its decision today dismissing both appeals. The CAS Panel unanimously acknowledged that the Athlete committed two filing failures but did not confirm the existence of a missed test, alleged by WA and WADA, which would have been the third Whereabouts Failure committed within a 12-month

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period. Accordingly, the CAS Panel concluded that the Athlete did not commit an ADRV and that the Challenged Decision should be confirmed.

The reasoned award will be published by CAS unless the parties request confidentiality.

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Athletics

Tobi Amusan floors WADA and World Athletics!

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Tobi Amusan’s Trial Begins Today -

Nigeria’s Paris 2024 medal hopeful, Tobi Amusan has been cleared as the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) has dismissed the appeal filed by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the World Athletics.

 She is therefore cleared to feature at the Paris 2024 Olympics. Amusan is the 100m hurdles world record holder.

The athlete  was charged in July last year with missing three anti-doping tests in 12 months but was cleared of the offence by the Disciplinary Tribunal of the sport’s governing body, World Athletics.

The Integrity Unit of the World Athletics appealed the clearance which has now been dismissed by CAS, the final arbiter in the case.

CAS in its statement remarked that its panel “unanimously acknowledged that the athlete committed two filing failures but did not confirm the existence of a missed test, alleged by WA and WADA, which would have been the third Whereabouts Failure committed within 12 months.”

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Amusan set the world record of 12.12 seconds in the world championships in Eugene, Oregon, in July 2022 and went on to win the title.

She finished sixth in the world championships in Budapest last year.

World Athletics’ anti-doping rules say any athlete failing to declare their whereabouts for a doping test on three occasions over 12 months is ineligible to compete for two years.

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Athletics

Tobi Amusan thanks God for success at CAS in doping case

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An elated Nigeria’s 100m hurdles world record holder, Tobi Amusan has thanked God for her success in an appeal filled against her by the Athletics Integrity Unit  of the World Athletics.

Had the appeal been upheld, ,Amusan would  have has to miss the Paris 2024 Olymoics.

“It’s ALL GOD” Amusan said in an Instagram post alongside the court’s announcement.

Amusan, who broke the world record during her semi-final race at the 2022 world championships, is a hot favourite in her signature event at the Paris Olympics, which begin on July 26.

World Athletics and WADA did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

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