News from Around The World
Kenyan Distance Runner Found Murdered
Kenyan police have launched a manhunt after the body of female athlete Damaris Muthee Mutua, 28, was found with stab wounds recently in the town of Iten, famous for producing world-class long-distance runners.
Police say they are looking for the Ethiopian boyfriend of Mutua, who was born in Kenya but competed for Bahrain.
She is the second female athlete to be killed in Iten in a year.
The town hit headlines in 2021 after Kenyan Olympic runner Agnes Tirop was found stabbed to death in her house in the same town.
It’s not clear when Mutua was killed, but it likely happened either late Saturday (April 16) or early Sunday (April 17), as police found her decomposing body in the house in the Rift Valley town.
Local police chief Tom Makori told the AFP news agency that police were looking for Mutua’s boyfriend, who appears to have fled the country.
Mutua’s boyfriend was training at the same high-altitude center where she trained and may have left the country, police say.
“The suspect called a friend with whom they were training together and informed him that he has killed a girlfriend and the body was in the house,” Makori told the Reuters news agency.
Mutua competed for Kenya as a junior athlete. She won two bronze medals at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore and the East African Junior Athletics Championships, a track and field competition in Khartoum, before she switched to run for Bahrain.
Trinidadian Olympian Deon Lendore Dead at 29
Three-time Trinidad and Tobago Olympic sprinter Deon Lendore died in a head-on collision in Texas 10 January 2022 when he was driving home from training.
The former 29-year-old NCAA champion at Texas A&M University in the USA was pronounced dead at the scene on Monday after his car drifted, crossing over the road’s center line and sideswiped a vehicle before drifting again to crash head-on into a sports utility vehicle (SUV).
Lendore was driving home westbound from his alma mater where he served as a volunteer assistant coach.
The driver of the SUV, a 65-year-old woman, was admitted to the hospital with serious injuries.
The Trinidadian quarter-miler represented the Caribbean island-nation three times in the Olympics – in 2012, 2016 and most recently in the 2020 Tokyo Games.
He ran on the 4x400m relay team to clinch the bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics, won silver in the World 4x400m in 2015 and remained undefeated through 14 races in the 400m category in championships with Texas A&M in 2014.
The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee called his death a sad day for the country’s sporting community and described him as an inspiration both on and off track.
“He epitomized hope and joy each time his feet landed on the track,” said Shamfa Cudjoe, Trinidad’s Minister of Sport and Community Development.
“He was indeed a trailblazer, a life gone too soon. We thank him for everything he has done and for giving distinguished and diligent service to T&T,” he added.
Soccer Club Paid Bond to Bring Diack Home to Senegal
3 June – Former World Athletics head Lamine Diack returned home to Senegal in early May after a local soccer club paid a bond of just over $600,000 to allow him to leave France.
Diack, the president of World Athletics from 1999-2015, was convicted in Paris in September on multiple charges of corruption during his tenure, some of which related to the Russian doping scandal. He was sentenced to four years in prison, with two of those years suspended.
But French justice authorities said Diack, 87, was unlikely to spend any time in jail because of his age. He had been held under house arrest in France since 2015.
The bond is related to a separate case against him.
Simon Ndiaye, a lawyer for Diack, said he was allowed to leave France after posting bail in a case involving alleged bribery in the buildup to the vote for the host city for the 2016 Olympics.
Diack was handed preliminary charges in that case and his passport was confiscated, but a French judge lifted the ban on him leaving the country on condition he pay 500,000 euros and continue to answer court summons, Ndiaye told The Associated Press.
“He was relieved, moved and happy to be able to return to his country and his family,” Ndiaye said. “But it remains a legal case that affects him. He finds it unfair. He continues to deny wrongdoing in both cases.”
Diack appeared frail as he walked through the airport after arriving in Dakar. He wore a smart blue suit but used a walking stick and was helped by a family member. He did not make any comments.
The bond money was raised by a soccer club in Senegal that Diack once led, according to Ndiaye and an official with the club. Youssou Dial, vice president in charge of finance at Jaraaf de Dakar, said the club raised the money by selling off some of its properties.
Diack was president of Jaraaf in the 1970s and in the late 1990s and 2000s.
His conviction in France last year marked a spectacular fall from grace for a man who was head of World Athletics, then known as the IAAF, for nearly two decades and was an influential figure in the world of Olympic sports.
Diack was found guilty of being part of a scheme that squeezed 3.2 million euros ($3.8 million) in bribes out of Russian athletes suspected of doping. The hush money allowed the athletes, who should have been suspended, to keep competing. Diack was also found guilty on breach of trust charges but acquitted of money laundering.
His son, Papa Massata Diack, who worked as an IAAF marketing consultant, was also convicted and was sentenced to five years in jail in his absence. The judge said $15 million was funneled to the younger Diack’s companies from various contracts negotiated by the IAAF while his father was in charge.
Papa Massata Diack lives in Senegal, which refused to extradite him to France for the trial. Both Diacks have appealed their convictions.
Lamine Diack, Former IAAF Head Gets 2 Years in Prison
Euronews, 16 September 2020 – Former track federation president Lamine Diack was sentenced today to two years in prison for his role in a scheme that allowed Russian athletes who paid hush money to keep competing when they should have been suspended for doping.
The guilty verdict in a Paris court represented a fall from grace for the 87-year-old Diack, who was the head of the IAAF (rebranded as World Athletics) from 1999-2015. The court also sentenced Diack to another two years of suspended jail time and fined him 500,000 euros ($590,000).
Diack was found guilty of multiple corruption charges and of breach of trust but acquitted of a money laundering charge.
At Diack’s trial in June, prosecutors requested a four-year jail term and a fine of 500,000 euros ($590,000).
Diack, wearing a white robe, sat impassively in front of the chief judge as she read out the guilty verdict and sentence. The judge, Rose-Marie Hunault, detailed his role in the payoff scheme, dubbed “full protection,” that squeezed Russian athletes suspected of doping of about 3.2 million euros ($3.74 million) in hush money.
“The money was paid in exchange for a program of ‘full protection,’” she said, adding the scheme allowed athletes who should have been suspended “purely and simply to escape sanctions.”
The court also handed guilty verdicts to five other people, including Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack, who worked as an IAAF marketing consultant. The judge said $15 million was funneled to the younger Diack’s companies, including commissions and money creamed off contracts and the sale of TV rights and other transactions while his father was in charge at the IAAF.
Meanwhile, Papa Massata Diack denounced the corruption and money laundering charges against himself and his father on Monday and called their trial in France a “conspiracy” by the “Anglo-Saxons”.
The younger Diack’s comments came at a news conference he called in their home country of Senegal two days before a verdict is expected in the trial.
On Monday, Papa Massata Diack complained that the trial in June was held without him. However, he had refused to attend the proceedings having fled to Senegal in 2015 as charges were prepared. Senegal declined to extradite him after an international arrest warrant. The 87-year-old Lamine Diack did attend the trial and testified. His son was tried in his absence. They both denied the charges.
“I refused to come to the French courts because they lacked impartiality,” Papa Massata Diack said at the news conference in Dakar. “To submit to French justice is to put myself at the disposal of my enemies.”
The younger Diack also said the French court had no jurisdiction to try him because the world athletics body was based in Monaco and the alleged offences that happened in Russia, Qatar, Senegal, Japan, and Turkey. He denied taking any money illegally. Although he said he earned $10 million from his consultancy work at the IAAF, he said all of his money was “traceable.”
He called the charges against him “the biggest lie in the history of world sport” and said that, despite all the documents, there was no evidence against him and his father. “The mountain gave birth to a mouse,” he said.
But Lamine Diack testified that Papa Massata had “conducted himself like a thug” while at the IAAF.
Cuban Sprinter of The 60s and 70s Died in 2019
Miguelina Cobián, a Cuban sprinter of the 1960s and 1970s, died in the capital city Havana six months ago on December 1, 2019. She was 78.
Nicknamed “Gazelle of The East”, Cobián was originally from Santiago de Cuba and became a multiple gold medalist in the Pan-American (Pan-Am) Games as well as the Caribbean and Central American (CAC) Games.
Cuba’s Radio Angulo remembers Cobián as the first Cuban athlete to have reached an Olympic final, when she placed fifth in the 100 meters at the 1964 Tokyo Games and eighth at the 1968 Mexico Olympics where she also won silver as a member of Cuba’s sprint relay team.
She was the second athlete from Cuba and the Americas to have won the most medals at regional games—eight at CAC and six at Pan-Am
Cobián suffered an injury while competing in a final at the 1970 Panama CAC Games and was unable to run at the Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia in 1971 and the 1972 Munich Olympics. She then decided to retire from the track, after which she worked as a coach to school and youth athletes in the Sports Initiation Schools and the Superior School of Athletic Improvement until her retirement.
Osvaldo Vento, president of the National Sports Institute in Cuba, described Cobián as “the most outstanding female athlete in the early years of Cuban track and field after the triumph of the Revolution in 1959.”
She was inducted into the CAC Confederation Hall of Fame in November 2005.
Britain Snubs Chambers for Birmingham Grand Prix
The Telegraph, Feb. 5, 13, 2019—British sprinter Dwain Chambers’ agent has hit out at UK Athletics after learning that the sprinter was not eligible for a lane at Britain’s showpiece indoor meeting in Birmingham this weekend because of his doping past.
With the British team to be selected this Sunday (17) for next month’s Glasgow European Indoor Championships, eight of the country’s leading 60m sprinters have been invited to compete at the Birmingham Grand Prix on Saturday (16) in a last-bid effort to register the qualifying time.
Chambers is also chasing the qualification mark after coming out of retirement at age 40 only to false-start at last weekend’s British Indoor Championships, but has not been given the chance to race because the governing body has a policy of not inviting athletes who have served a “serious anti-doping rule violation”.
“I’m astonished,” Chambers’ long-term agent Siza Agha told Telegraph Sport. “There are several athletes – including athletes competing on Saturday – who have recent doping bans, whilst Dwain’s is 16 years old. I wasn’t aware of any policy, but in Dwain’s position, I find it astonishing.
“Why is it that Dwain is still the only athlete that has ever told the truth about this? The reason for that is if people told the truth then people like UK Athletics would be silencing them.
“There is a difference between a clean sport and the appearance of a clean sport and the most fertile sources of information are the people that are caught themselves. If they were encouraged to come forward and give a truthful account, then bigger people would be caught, and the sport would be cleaner.
Despite being more than twice the age of some of his rivals, Chambers, the former world indoor 60m champion believes he is in as good a shape as any point in his career and stands a fighting chance of succeeding.
He clocked 6.70 seconds in a low-key meet in December—his first competitive race for almost a year and a half—to put him just outside the top 10 in this season’s British 60m rankings.
With a personal best of 6.42secs, which places him fifth in the all-time global lists, and the absence of British No 1 Reece Prescod, it is conceivable that Chambers could improve sufficiently to win a medal in Birmingham this weekend.
Kenyan Elite Athlete Dead in Crash
August 8, 2018– Nicholas Bett, the Kenyan athlete who won the 2015 World Championship title in the 400-meter hurdles, was killed in an early-morning car crash Wednesday, August 8, in Kenya. He was 28.
Bett had just returned home from the African Championships in Nigeria.
Police report said Bett died in a one-car crash on the road between Eldoret and Kapsabet, two of Kenya’s best-known distance-running training towns in the Rift Valley region. He was driving alone, the report said.
Bett’s SUV hit bumps in the road and rolled, landing on its roof in a ditch, his coach, Vincent Mumo, told the Associated Press. Mumo said the accident happened at about 6 a.m.
“I’m out of words,” Mumo said. “We thank God for his life.”
Mumo said Bett’s twin brother, Aron Koech, who was “beyond grief.” Koech was a member of the Kenyan 1,600m relay team that won gold at last week’s African Championships in Asaba, Nigeria.
Bett was the father of 2-year-old twin boys.
His gold in the 400 hurdles at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing
made him the first Kenyan to win a major title in the event.
Julius Yego, who also produced a surprise at the same world championships to win gold in javelin, wrote on Facebook: “Dark morning, horrifying news! Can’t believe it’s real but go rest with the angels Nicholas Bett!”
“I’m shocked beyond words!” Yego added. “My roommate in Beijing when we won gold together and it was just the other day we were in Nigeria.”
Bett was initially a volleyball player before turning to track. He also won bronze medals at the African championships in 2014 in the 400 hurdles and 1,600-meter relay.
Pistorius’s Sentence Increased to 15 Years
November 25 – South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal has more than doubled the sentence imposed by a lower court on Oscar Pistorius, a double-amputee Olympic sprinter convicted of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in his home in February 2013.
After his initial trial in 2014, Pistorius, sometimes nicknamed Blade Runner for the curved prosthetics on which he runs, was sentenced for manslaughter, but that was later changed on appeal to murder. He was jailed for six years in July 2016.
Prosecutors said the six-year term was “shockingly lenient,” however, and they appealed. The Supreme Court of Appeal last week increased the sentence to 15 years but deducted the time he has already served either in prison or under house arrest, meaning that he faces an outstanding sentence of 13 years and five months. South African law sets 15 years as the recommended minimum for murder, but it can be lower if there are mitigating circumstances.
In his defense, Pistorius argued that he had shot Steenkamp by accident, firing four bullets through a bathroom door in the belief that an intruder had entered his upscale villa in Pretoria. Only when he smashed down the door, he said at his trial, did he discover that he had shot her.
Prosecutors said he had killed her in a jealous fury after an argument in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013.
The ruling said that Pistorius “displays a lack of remorse and does not appreciate the gravity of his actions.”
Pistorius was not in court on Friday to hear the decision on his sentence.
IOC Suspends Council Member Frankie Fredericks
November 7 – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended IAAF council member and prominent figure in the IOC Frankie Fredericks last week after he was charged with money laundering and corruption.
Fredericks, 50 and four-time Olympic silver medalist for Namibia, was charged by the French authorities. A judge investigating allegations of vote buying in international sport brought the charges.
He was accused of accepting a bribe of US$299,300 (£230,000) from the son of former IAAF president Lamine Diack when Rio won the vote to host the 2016 Olympics.
Fredericks, however, claims the money was legitimate payment for consultancy and promotional work for athletics’ governing body.
He was provisionally suspended from the IAAF in July, when the organization’s Athletic Integrity Unit opened an investigation into the matter.
In suspending him, the IOC cited “the impact on the IOC’s reputation”.
Its executive board said in a statement: “Considering the gravity and urgency of the situation and its impact on the reputation of the IOC, the IOC executive board decides to suspend Mr. Frank Fredericks from all the rights, prerogatives and functions deriving from his quality as an IOC member.”
Fredericks was the chair of the 2024 Olympic bid evaluation committee when the allegations were made, but he stepped down in March following the accusations.
He also left his position in the IAAF task force, which was responsible for evaluating Russia’s return to the sport after its doping scandals.
He won Olympic silver medals in the 100m and 200m at both Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996. He also won gold in the 200m at the World Championships in 1993.
JCSU Track Coach Goes to Clemson
Lennox Graham recently ended his tenure as head coach of the Johnson C. Smith University (North Carolina) track and field and Cross Country programs for nearly ten years. He takes up a new job this season as Assistant Coach for the Clemson University Tigers (South Carolina) and will work closely with sprinters and hurdlers.
At Johnson C Smith, Graham was named the Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II Women’s Outdoor Track and Field National Coach of the Year for the 2012-13 season. He also copped nine Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Coach of the Year awards and two Atlantic Region Coach of the Year honors
He has coached in several international events such as the 2016 Rio Olympics, the 2014 Commonwealth Games and three World Championships and has guided Johnson C. Smith women’s team to four NCAA Division II Championship top-5 team finishes in 2011 (outdoor), 2013-14 (outdoor) and 2014 (indoor), and he has coached a combined 25 NCAA Division II national indoor/outdoor champions.
Outside of NCAA competition, Graham coached Jamaica’s Danielle Williams, who won the 100m hurdles at both the 2015 World Championships and 2015 World University Games Championship. In the 2012 London Olympics, Graham guided Leford Green also a Jamaican, to a seventh-place finish in the 400m hurdles. At the 2009 Pan-American Junior Championships, Graham coached the top-two finishers in the 100m hurdles in Shermaine Williams (Danielle’s sister) and Rosemarie Carty.
A Jamaican, Graham was a high school head coach in Jamaica, where he guided his team to six Jamaican championship titles over his tenure. He also has coached many individual and relay champions competing in the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) Games, Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, North American Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Championships, and the Pan American Junior Championships.
He is a 1984 graduate of Alabama State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, majoring in Computer Information Systems. He earned a Master’s in Business Administration from The University of New Orleans in 2006, and he is a certified IAAF Level 5 Elite coach, specializing in sprints and hurdles.
As a student-athlete at Alabama State University, Graham competed as a sprinter/hurdler for the ASU hornets from 1984 to 1987. He was the top sprint hurdler all four years. He earned the Most Academic (1985-87), Most Outstanding Hurdler (1984-85), and the Most Valuable Runner (1986-87) awards while competing for the Hornets. He also won the George Hubert Lockhart Award for overall excellence in sports across varsity sports at ASU (1987).
Goule Volunteers at Clemson
Jamaica’s 800m specialist Natoya Goule has begun her first season as a volunteer assistant with the Clemson track and field program in which she works directly with the middle distance group coached by Mark Elliot.
Goule was the 2015 NCAA Indoor 800m Champion while leading Clemson track and field to a sweep of the team titles at the ACC Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
She set the NCAA Indoor meet record last winter after posting a gold medal time of 2:01.32. It was her third career NCAA championship, combined with the two she won at Louisiana State University under Elliott’s tutelage in 2013. In just one season at Clemson, Goule collected three first-team All-America honors, as well as one ACC individual title and one relay championship. She was the 2015 ACC Indoor Women’s Track Performer of the Year. She was also a member of Clemson’s school-record 4x400m relay team that set a new standard at the NCAA East Preliminaries.
While at Clemson, Goule ran a personal best 1:59.63 to break the program record in the 800m. She won the event for the third straight time and earned a berth in the IAAF World Championships in China, representing Jamaica at the World Championships for second time. The first was in 2013.
Previously, Goule was a standout in 2013 at LSU, her one season in Baton Rouge. She swept the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor titles in the 800m and was a first-team All-American with the Tigers’ 4x400m relay during both seasons as well. Goule won an SEC title as well in the outdoor 800m.
She won 10 career National Junior College Athletics Association titles as a student at South Plains College in Texas.
Goule earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Clemson in May 2015.
British High Jumper Germaine Mason in Fatal Crash
Apr. 21, 2017 – Jamaican-born British Olympic high jumper Germaine Mason, 34, died Thursday (20th) in an early morning crash near Jamaica’s capital Kingston, police said, when he lost control of his motorcycle.
According to newspaper reports out of Jamaica, Bolt, Jamaica’s eight-time Olympic sprint champion and 11-time World champion, and fellow sprinter Michael Frater were immediately at the scene.
Other reports also said a number of athletes, including Bolt and Frater, were riding in a convoy with Mason when the crash took place.
Mason began competing for Britain, his father’s homeland, in 2006 after having taken bronze for Jamaica at the 2004 World Indoor Games, silver at the 2000 World Junior Games in Chile and bronze at the 2002 World Junior Games in Kingston.
Mason remains the Jamaican national record holder in the event; he matched his personal best of 2.34m to claim silver at Beijing.
Incidentally, British sprinters James Ellington and Nigel Levine survived a horrific collision in Tenerife, where they were on a warm-weather training camp in January of this year. The pair was sitting on the same motorbike when they were hit. BBC report
British Sprinters Injured in Collision
Jan. 30, 2017 – British sprinters James Ellington and Nigel Levine returned to the UK last week and were admitted to London hospitals for surgery after surviving a horrific collision in Tenerife, where they were on a warm-weather training camp with fellow sprinters Martyn Rooney and Rabah Yousif.
The pair was sitting on the same motorbike when they were hit. Each suffered pelvic injuries in the incident, with Ellington also sustaining a broken tibia and fibula and a facial fracture.
According to reports, Ellington, a 31-yr-old European champion, broke both legs when he and fellow sprinter Nigel Levine were hit head-on by a motorist last week. Levine, 27, part of Great Britain’s 4x400m team at Rio 2016, may have suffered a broken pelvis.
Unlikely to Race Again
According to the Mirror of London, Ellington is unlikely to race again and could be on crutches until the summer.
On Tuesday (24), Ellington tweeted: “Finally back in London, been through some dark days this week, but have my operation today and start my road to recovery.
Reports following the collision claim the athletes were cornering a bend in the road when they were struck by a car being driven on the wrong side of the road, reportedly by a tourist.
Just hours before the crash Ellington had posted a picture on Twitter and Instagram from his training camp with the caption: “End of another solid session with the lads.”
After the crash, he posted another picture on Instagram, thanking fans for their messages of goodwill. He wrote: “Overwhelmed and truly touched by everyone’s messages and support, I truly am blessed as I do not know how me or my training partner Nigel are still alive.”
Both athletes competed at Rio 2016 last summer but it is thought that the chances of Ellington returning to top-class athletics are very slim given the severity of his injuries. The 31-year-old has been a mainstay of Great Britain’s 4x100m team in recent years.
He helped Britain win 4x100m gold in the 2014 and 2016 European Championship and relay silver in the 2014 Commonwealth Games. He has a 100m personal best of 10.11 sec.
Levine, 27, a former European junior champion, was part of the 4x400m team in Rio and has won eight world and European relay medals, including gold at the 2014 European Championships.
He was born in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and raised in Northamptonshire.
Kenya’s Olympic Athletics Official in Police Custody
Aug. 10, 2016 – Kenya’s Olympic athletics official Michael Rotich will spend a month in police custody as investigators gather evidence over allegations he demanded bribes to warn athletes of impending doping tests.
According to an AFP report online, the Sunday Times newspaper and German television channel ARD filmed Rotich allegedly demanding 10,000 pounds ($13,000, 11,800 Euros) for agreeing to give a warning when doping tests would be carried out.
The official, who was the Kenya track and field team manager at the Rio Olympics, was called home where he denied any wrongdoing after being arrested upon arrival from Brazil on Tuesday (9).
The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) had received “critical information in regard to the involvement of the respondent in doping from the Sunday Times newspaper in the United Kingdom,” Kenyan prosecutor Duncan Ondimu told the court.
He then requested 28 days to allow investigators to follow up “several leads” from the information passed on to the Kenya’s anti-narcotics unit, which the magistrate granted.
Rotich’s lawyer Ham Langat argued that his client was innocent and was facing “a malicious prosecution because of pressure from the international community.”
Langat attempted to cast doubt on the quality of the Sunday Times’ journalism, calling the video evidence “flimsy” and using the phrase “gutter press” against the newspaper, which he accused of timing the report to coincide with the Olympics.
Rotich had taken “a leading role to make sure the sport is clean,” his lawyer added.
In the media interview Rotich explained to journalists posing as a coach and agent how their athletes could avoid doping controls.
He is also alleged to have promised to alert them 12 hours before a dope test in return for cash.
Rotich becomes the third athletics official to be charged under the new Kenyan anti-doping laws which came into force in June, and several Kenyan athletes have failed dope tests in recent months.
IAAF Rejects 67 Russian Applications to Compete in Rio
JULY 10 – The IAAF’s Doping Review Board has turned down applications from 67 Russian athletes to compete internationally as individuals following a blanket ban on the country’s track and field athletes for systematic doping.
The All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) said in a statement on Saturday it was informed by the sport’s governing body, IAAF, that only one application, from long jumper Darya Klishina, was approved.
“The rest of the 67 athletes who have been approved by the ARAF’s board as they have fulfilled the federation’s criteria to compete in the Olympics have been refused,” ARAF said on its Web site.
Earlier this week, Russia named a 68-strong athletics team for the Olympics, despite the ban, which followed allegations of state-led doping.
Oscar Pistorius sentenced to 6 years in prison
JULY 7 – A South African judge sentenced Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius to six years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend – the latest ruling in a drawn-out case that has transfixed the nation for years.
Pistorius killed Reeva Steenkamp at his home in an upscale Pretoria neighborhood in the early hours of Valentine’s Day three years ago. He said the killing was an accident, after he mistook her for an intruder, but one the prosecution called a deliberate act after the two had an argument.
The same judge originally convicted him of manslaughter in 2014 after months of hearings, but a higher court reversed that to murder last year, leading to Wednesday’s sentencing.
Barring an appeal, it will be the final sentencing in a saga that started when Pistorius fired four bullets through his bathroom door on that fateful morning in February 2013.
Fate of Oscar Pistorius to be Determined in June
Apr. 18 – South Africa’s former Olympic track star Oscar Pistorius appeared briefly in a Pretoria court where a judge scheduled five days in June to determine his sentence for murdering his girlfriend.
The sentencing hearing for Pistorius will be held from June 13 to 17 at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
The 29-year-old double amputee sprinter, who was found guilty of murdering Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013, was greeted by a small group of vocal supporters outside the court.
The sentencing hearing will be heard by Judge Thokozile Masipa, who presided over Pistorius’s trial and found him guilty of manslaughter, a verdict that was overturned by a higher court that found him guilty of the more serious charge of murder.
Pistorius appealed his murder conviction, arguing that a lower court erred when it overturned his manslaughter conviction. But at South Africa’s Constitutional Court dismissed his appeal.
The minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years, although it can be reduced in some circumstances.
Pistorius is expected to argue for a lesser sentence. He has already spent one year in the hospital wing of Kgosi Mampuru II prison in Pretoria. He is currently serving the remainder of his five-year manslaughter sentence under house arrest and he stays at his uncle’s home in Pretoria.
Jamaica’s Juliet Cuthbert Strikes Gold in Politics
Mar. 2 – Fifty-one-year-old Jamaican three-time Olympic medalist and three-time former NCAA champion Juliet Cuthbert, married Flynn, returned to her competitive and winning ways; this time it wasn’t on the track but in the political arena. She secured a seat in the Jamaican Parliament on Thursday, Feb 25, when she convincingly defeated her opponent, parliamentarian Paul Buchanan, for the St. Andrew West Rural constituency. It was Cuthbert-Flynn’s first election race and she took 9,742 votes to Buchanan’s 7,517 to become the first Jamaican Olympian to win a seat in Parliament.
As a formidable Olympian during the 1990s, Cuthbert-Flynn won silver medals in the 100m and 200m sprint double at the 1992 Barcelona Games, Spain and four years later took bronze at the Atlanta, US edition. She was also ran the backstretch on Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team in the final. After having pulled a muscle while in full flight in that race, she managed to hold on to pass the baton.
In that same year, she was voted Jamaica’s “Sportswoman of the Year”.
Cuthbert-Flynn was also a member of the sprint relay squads that won gold at the 1991 Tokyo World Championships, silver both at the Games in Gothenburg in 1995 and Athens in 1997, and bronze at the 1983 Helsinki edition. She also copped bronze in the 200m at the 1997 Paris World Indoor Championships.
After migrating from Jamaica as a teenager to live with her mother in Philadelphia, Cuthbert-Flynn attended the University of Texas, where she competed as a Longhorn. She was inducted to the Texas Athletics Hall of Honor in 2015.
Following her election victory, the self-described “unyielding soul” told the Jamaica Observer newspaper that she never doubted that she would have won the parliamentary seat because she had put in the work and has never settled for anything but the best in her pursuits. “I didn’t settle for second (1992 Olympics). It is what it is. Anything that I do, anyone who knows me knows that I am going to try to do the best that I can and not going to ever do anything half and half. Never!” she noted.
With her extensive background in track, a sporting discipline in which Jamaica has been enjoying mega success from the junior to the senior levels, Cuthbert-Flynn is heavily tipped to become the junior minister of sports. -by Desmond Palmer
Under Investigation, Lamine Diack Resigns from IOC Role
Nov. 14 – Lamine Diack, the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has resigned as honorary member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), following the launch of a formal investigation against the Senegalese for suspected corruption and money-laundering, the IOC said on Wednesday (11).
Diack, who was head of the IAAF for 16 years until August this year was arrested by French investigators and charged with corruption last week amid allegations he took more than €1m in bribes in 2011 to cover up positive doping tests of Russian athletes. French authorities also requested him not leave the country, took his passport and required $550k US bail.
He was arrested on prosecutors’ claim, based on evidence provided by an inquiry team appointed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Diack, who was provisionally suspended by the IOC on Tuesday (9), also resigned as president of the International Athletics Foundation.
On Monday (9), WADA published a report which was highly critical of Russian athletics.
Diack’s legal adviser Habib Cissé and Gabriel Dollé, the former longstanding head of the IAAF’s anti-doping unit, were also arrested. Late last year, Britain’s Guardian newspaper revealed that Dollé had quit his post after being interviewed by the governing body’s ethics committee.
Meanwhile, Diack’s son, Papa Massata, was ‘implicated’ also in the scandal, placing the process that led the IAAF to award their World Championships in Athletics to bidding cities under renewed scrutiny.
According to France’s national financial prosecutor Elaine Houlette, Papa Massata Diack, who worked as a consultant contracted to the IAAF’s longstanding marketing partner Dentsu, is also thought to have played a “very active” role in the alleged scheme.
The younger Diack resigned as an IAAF marketing executive in December last year after it was alleged that he requested £3m from Qatar during the race to host the 2017 IAAF World Championships, an event eventually awarded to London.
The 2019 championships was, however, awarded to Doha, with the 2021 showcase event going to Eugene in Oregon against a backdrop of complaints from European athletics chiefs over a lack of process, especially since rival city Gothenburg was not even given an opportunity to bid.
“We didn’t arrest Mr. Diack’s son because he didn’t come to Paris when he was meant to. But he is also implicated in this affair,” Houlette said. “We haven’t had the opportunity to arrest him in France. We would have done so if we could.”
According to an investigation that began when a World Anti Doping Agency investigation into claims in the German media handed over IAAF documents to the police in June, the money was alleged to have been paid to cover up positive drug tests in Russia.
In the meantime, in response to WADA’s Independent Commission report, the IAAF President, Sebastian Coe, has decided to seek approval from his fellow IAAF Council Members to consider sanctions against the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF). These sanctions could include provisional and full suspension and the removal of future IAAF events.
The allegations that they took bribes totaling more than £600,000 to hide the positive drugs tests of Russian athletes has prompted senior European athletics officials to revisit the issue of the 2021 championships in particular.
IAAF Provisionally Suspends Russian Member Federation
Nov. 13 – The Council of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has provisionally suspended the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) as an IAAF Member with immediate effect.
The decision was taken at today’s 201st IAAF Council Meeting which was held by teleconference and chaired from London by IAAF President Sebastian Coe.
A total of 24 Members of Council took part in the meeting: 22 voted in favour of the sanction against ARAF, who have been officially informed of the Council’s decision, 1 voted against. The Council Member from Russia was not eligible to participate in the vote.
Commenting on the decision, IAAF President Sebastian Coe said: “Today we have been dealing with the failure of ARAF and made the decision to provisionally suspend them, the toughest sanction we can apply at this time. But we discussed and agreed that the whole system has failed the athletes, not just in Russia, but around the world.
“This has been a shameful wake up call and we are clear that cheating at any level will not be tolerated. To this end, the IAAF, WADA, the member federations and athletes need to look closely at ourselves, our cultures and our processes to identify where failures exist and be tough in our determination to fix them and rebuild trust in our sport. There can be no more important focus for our sport”
Former World-Record Holder Dies
Nov. 2 – The IAAF has expressed deep sadness over hearing that for US sprinter Houston McTear died on Sunday (1) after a long battle with cancer. He was 58 years old.
Born in February 1957 in Okaloosa County, Florida, McTear excelled at an early age. As an 18-year-old, competing at the Florida High School Championships, McTear equalled the world record of 9.0 in the 100 yards.
The following year, while still a junior and a high school athlete, McTear clocked 10.16 to finish second in the 100m at the US Olympic Trials and qualify for the 1976 Games in Montreal, but injury forced him to withdraw from the Olympics.
As a 20-year-old and a member of the Muhammad Ali Track Club, he set a 100m personal best of 10.13, the second-fastest time of 1977. In early 1978, he set a world best of 6.54 over 60m.
The US boycott of the 1980 Games prevented his participation at the Moscow Olympics, kick-starting what was to be a difficult decade for McTear.
He made a brief comeback in the early 1990s and married Swedish sprinter Linda Haglund.
McTear had been suffering from lung cancer for the past few years, which is said to have recently spread to other parts of his body.
He leaves three children: Isaac, Michi and Autumn.
IOC Strips US of Olympic Relay Medals
May 13 – The entire U.S. men’s sprint relay team was stripped of its silver medal from the 2012 London Olympics on Wednesday (13th) as a result of Tyson Gay’s doping case.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) notified the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) by letter that the 4x100m relay team has been disqualified and all the medals withdrawn. The letter asks the USOC to collect the medals and return them to the IOC.
“As expected, following USADA’s decision in the Tyson Gay case, the IOC today confirmed that the U.S. team has been disqualified from the 4×100-meter race that was part of the athletics competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games,” USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement.
“We will begin efforts to have the medals returned, and support all measures to protect clean athletes.”
Gay returned his own medal last year after accepting a one-year doping suspension and the loss of results going back to July 2012, but the status of the U.S. second-place finish in London and the medals of Gay’s relay teammates had remained in limbo until now.
Under international rules, an entire team can be disqualified and stripped of medals because of doping by one member.
Gay was a member of the American team that finished second in London behind a Jamaican team anchored by Usain Bolt that set a new world record in 36.84secs. The Americans set a national record in the final with 37.04secs.
The other U.S. team members losing medals are Trell Kimmons, Justin Gatlin, Ryan Bailey, Jeffery Demps and Darvis Patton. Kimmons, Gatlin and Bailey ran in the final with Gay.
If the London medals are reallocated, the silver will go to Trinidad and Tobago, which finished third in 38.12. The bronze would go to the French team which placed fourth in 38.16. –AP report
Canadian Sprinter Gets Two-year Doping Suspension
May 13, 2015 – After a long process of appeals, Canadian 400m sprinter Alicia Brown got a two-year doping suspension for the presence of hydrochlorothiazide in an out-of-competition test from late November 2013.
Brown was the 2013 national champion over 400m and later represent Canada and the World Championships in Moscow that summer.
The sample was collected in late November of 2013, and in January of 2014 Brown agreed to a voluntary provisional suspension. An arbitrator originally ruled the athlete was not at fault for the violation, but the decision was appealed by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport and was overturned by an appeal panel on April 20, 2015.
Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic and is banned in sport because it can be used as a masking agent for other performance-enhancing substances.
Due to her acceptance of the provisional suspension, Brown will be eligible to compete again on November 26, 2015, a two-year suspension from the date the test was taken
Jeptoo Banned for Two Years
Jan. 30 – Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo, winner of the Boston and Chicago marathons, has been banned for two years after failing a drugs test, Athletics Kenya (AK) said today.
The biggest doping scandal to hit the East African country in recent years, Jeptoo’s case has focused attention on Kenyan athletes who are among the world’s best middle and long distance runners but have failed a number of drug tests.
Kenya’s sports minister said recently that the rise in doping has “embarrassed” his country. Meanwhile, Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha said he feared for Kenya’s hard-won reputation after repeat allegations of doping.
“AK followed due process in her (Rita Jeptoo) matter and it was appropriate that she serves a two-year ban,” AK chief executive Isaac Kamande told Reuters.
Jeptoo, provisionally suspended from athletics after the A sample proved positive, had asked for a B check which also tested positive for a banned substance.
The 33-year-old athlete has denied doping, telling reporters last year that the accusations against her were “lies”.
She could not be reached for comment today.
Dozens of Kenyan athletes have failed dope tests in the past two years. Kenyan government officials have blamed the growing doping cases on foreign agents and AK’s failure to educate its athletes properly.
Kenya on Wednesday signed a partnership agreement with Chinese and Norwegian anti-doping agencies to help root out drugs cheats.
High Crime Rate Complicates Rio’s Olympic Dreams
Jan. 17 – Brazil’s second-largest city has some serious crime-busting yet to do as it prepares for the summer Olympic Games, set to begin in Rio de Janeiro in about 18 months.
Just ask British sailors Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, 2012 World champions in the 470-class event.
The two women were training last month on Guanabara Bay – the planned site for the 2016 Olympic sailing events — and had returned to dry land near the end of the day.
“Our delightful walk back from the sailing club to the hotel turned fairly nasty when two guys wielding seven-inch knives ran at us, pushed us around, and grabbed everything we had,” the pair later wrote on Facebook, noting that even their Lycra sailing outfits were stolen.
Between 2005 and 2012, the homicide rate in the city and its surrounding area tumbled almost by half – from 42 homicides per year for every 100,000 population to just 24.
That figure puts Rio about midway between Toronto (with an annual murder rate of 1.34 for every 100,000 population) and Detroit (47).
“There has been a massive and rapid expansion of the police force,” said Robert Gay, a sociologist and Brazil expert at Connecticut College in New London, Conn. “They’ve reduced murders dramatically.”
Unfortunately, the most recent stats indicate more than a little backsliding on the crime front.
Muggings, for example, were way up last year, reaching levels not seen since the dark days that reigned before Rio launched a major crime-reduction program in 2008. Other felonies, such as car theft and homicide, are also back on the rise.
Last year, Brazil led the way, claiming 16 spots among the planet’s 50 bloodiest towns, more than any other country. Mexico was second, with nine.
On the plus side, Rio de Janeiro did not make the list.
Rio’s reduced murder rate is due at least in part to an innovative crime-fighting strategy introduced six years ago, replacing the shock-troop approach that had prevailed for decades.
“Brazil is used to putting on these mega-events,” said Gay.
Foremost among such events was last year’s soccer World Cup, which was played in a dozen Brazilian cities, including Rio. Despite acute concerns about security, the sporting extravaganza was a huge success (if you don’t count the disappointing on-field fortunes of the Brazilian team).
“It was one of the best World Cups ever,” said Gay, who predicts the Rio Olympics will go off smoothly in the end.
Rita Jeptoo’s Verdict to be Issued in 3 Months
Jan. 16 – Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo appeared before a disciplinary hearing on Thursday, although officials said a decision on her suspension from distance running would be issued in three months, pending further investigations.
Jeptoo, once considered the world’s top female marathoner, was busted for using the banned blood-boosting hormone EPO during an out-of-competition drugs test last year, and faces a ban of at least two years plus the loss of a string of recent titles.
Athletics Kenya officials, who had urged Jeptoo to “spill the beans” on how she acquired and was administered the drug, said the athlete testified for more than two hours in what was a “very productive hearing”.
“We have garnered a lot of information. This case has not been concluded simply because there is a lot of information that has come about through the hearing and we have to go back and consult,” Athletics Kenya medical commission member and chief executive Isaac Mwangi told reporters at the end of 12 hours of closed-door testimonies and deliberations.
Mwangi, who said Jeptoo remained on suspension pending a final decision, added Athletics Kenya needed to consult with the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) on whether Jeptoo should be punished with a two-year ban or with the new mandatory four-year ban that came into force from January 1.
“This is a hearing that is confidential so we may not be able to give a lot of information but of importance to note is that we will be asking further information from IAAF then we will communicate once we are through.
“This is an interesting case because although the violation happened last year, World Anti-Doping Agency and IAAF amended their rules and it’s for that reason that we need to consult before we can issue a sanction,” the CEO added.
The Medical and Anti-doping Commission will conduct another hearing in two weeks before issuing a sanction before March.
Jeptoo has already been denied the US$500,000) prize for winning the last World Marathon Majors series, and may also be forced to pay back other prize money that has already been paid out.
Agent Hangs Marathon Champ Jeptoo out to Dry over Doping
Nov. 6 — Federico Rosa, the head of Rosa Associati that manages Boston and Chicago women marathon champion Rita Jeptoo, whose A-sample tested for Erythropoietin or EPO, a blood-boosting drug, claims in an interview there’s no possibility of a ‘mistake’ on the adverse findings after disowning the runner in the aftermath of the stunning news last Friday.
“No. No. No. I didn’t think there was any mistake because that’s a very, very, very, delicate situation and I don’t trust much in mistakes on finding substance.
“When there’s a mistake, the “A” sample is slightly different from the “B” sample and it cannot be said it’s positive. I don’t remember there being a mistake, especially when they told me it was EPO,” the Italian Athletes’ Representative who has been in business for two decades told Competitor.com.
His remarks contradict his client who on Tuesday exercised the right to have her B-sample tested pertaining to an out of competition urine test conducted in September before she went on to retain her Chicago crown last month to clinch the US$500,000 World Marathon Majors jackpot.
Federico claims the marathon star whose positive test has stunned the athletics fraternity locally and abroad alleged she was injected to treat tropical disease Malaria, a charge he vehemently disproves.
“She started to say, ‘I don’t know. I had malaria. I went to see a doctor. He gave me an injection.’ And that’s not what’s happened,” he added disclosing he spoke to Jeptoo on Wednesday, 24 hours before RunBlogRun.com exclusively broke the news.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he answered on whether Jeptoo stated she had gone to see the doctor adding it was not the one they recommend stating “But normally we have an Italian doctor in Nairobi. If there’s any problem of this kind with my athletes, we tell them to fly to meet this doctor, which is 100 percent safe. He’s knows us. He’s an old guy—20 years we’ve known him.
“No, she didn’t go to see him. When one of my athletes tells me, ‘I have stomach problems or this or that’ they get a flight tomorrow, go to meet the doctor. We book you, go there, test it and then the doctor in the afternoon comes back and says, ‘There’s this problem. You need antibiotics or you need this as well.”
Federico declined to disclose the name of the medic on doctor-patient confidentiality grounds insisting his athletes compete clean despite the cloud of controversy hanging over his head after established runners under his management got entangled in the doping web.
Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare to Marry Super Eagle Tomorrow
Nov. 6 — Nigeria’s current Commonwealth Games double sprint medalist will be marry former Super Eagles player Jude Igho Otegheri November 7.
“Getting married won’t stop me from doing the usual things on the track,” an elated Okagbare media during the week. “I am anxiously looking forward to my wedding day, and thereafter, I will continue to work hard so as to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians as long as my body allows me to run and jump,” she said.
It will be the gathering of both track and field stars and footballers in the ancient town of Sapele, Okagbare’s birthplace.
Okagbare, a sprinter as well as a triple and long jumper, held a Nigerian record of 14.13m in the triple jump at the 2007 All-Africa Games.
She also won the Nigerian 100m title in 2010, running a time of 11.04secs. She also got to the final round of London 2012 Olympics.
She added to her chain of achievements on the track earlier this year, when she won 100m gold at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, running 10.85 to break the games record of 10.91 set by Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas 12 years ago at the 2002 Games in Manchester.
She also won the 200m gold in 22.25 to become the fourth woman to win the 100m and 200m double at the Commonwealth Games.
Otegheri, who played for Wikki Tourist of Bauchi, Enugu Rangers, Dolphins F.C. of Port Harcourt and Heartland FC of Owerri, is currently undergoing rehabilitation in Nigeria after a failed stint at Beitar Jerusalem FC where he suffered a career threatening injury.
The footballer told a newspaper four months ago he returned home from Jerusalem after the injury but would return to the club after his rehabilitation.
A striker, he first played for the Eagles in a February 2, 2003 match against Costa Rica.
“He is someone I really want to be with because he is nice and God fearing. Those were some basic things I prayed for in a man. He is kind and that is a great thing for me because he supports my life, my career and my aspirations,” Okagbare said.
Oscar Pistorius Jailed in Hospital Wing
Oct. 22 — Oscar Pistorius spent his first night in a single cell in the hospital wing of a prison in the capital, Pretoria, said a prison official.
He was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday after he was found guilty of culpable homicide for the shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early morning hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013.
According to prison commissioner Zebilon Monama, Pistorius seemed confused and tired when he entered the Kgosi Mampuru facility and was tense as wardens took his fingerprints and the prison chaplain met with him soon after his prison number was issued on Tuesday.
“After he saw the chaplain, our psychologist went to see him just to try to talk to him,” said Monama.
Pistorius had a medical examination before being locked in his cell in a separate wing of the prison where the double amputee Paralympian joins eight other inmates with disabilities and will be under routine 24-hour observations with two nurses on duty.
“Now the hospital section of the center accommodates two offenders with prosthetic legs, two blind offenders and five offenders on wheelchairs: Nine in total,” correctional services spokesman Manelisi Wolela said.
Throughout his trial and sentencing Pistorius maintained that he mistook the model and qualified lawyer for an intruder when he shot her through the bathroom door, with his defense arguing that the gold medalist’s physical disability had made him particularly paranoid. -AP
LSU Sprinter Arrested on Rape Charge
Oct. 21 — In an email to The Daily Reveille, associate sports information director Will Stafford said junior sprinter Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake is suspended from the LSU track and field team after being charged with forcible rape.
Stafford said neither the Athletic Department nor track coach Dennis Shaver would have any further comment apart from the statement released by University media relations to The Daily Reveille.
Psychologist Says Pistorius is ‘Broken Man’
Oct. 13 — Oscar Pistorius is a ”broken man” after killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp because he lost the woman he said he loved as well as his reputation, friends, income and sense of self-worth, a psychologist called by his lawyers testified Monday.
Dr. Lore Hartzenberg gave the testimony ahead of the runner’s sentencing for culpable homicide, and it was almost immediately characterized by the chief prosecutor as unbalanced.
Hartzenberg said the double-amputee runner had sometimes cried, retched, perspired and paced up and down during meetings in which she tried to assist him.
”Some of the sessions were just him weeping and crying and me holding him,” Hartzenberg said.
The testimony was part of an effort by the runner’s legal team to persuade Judge Thokozile Masipa that Pistorius has suffered emotionally and materially for what he said was an accident and that he is remorseful. The team hopes the judge will be lenient when she sentences Pistorius after what is expected to be about a week of legal argument and testimony.
Pistorius, once a celebrated athlete who ran in the 2012 Olympics, was charged with premeditated murder but Masipa instead found him guilty last month of the lesser charge of culpable homicide. Sentences for that conviction can range from a suspended sentence and a fine to as many as 15 years in prison.
”We are left with a broken man who has lost everything,” Hartzenberg said during her testimony.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel criticized her findings, saying Pistorius would likely have the chance to rebuild his life.
Several police officers stood guard on the dais where the judge sat amid concerns about her security. Masipa drew criticism from some South Africans who thought Pistorius could at least have been convicted of a lesser murder charge on the grounds that he knew a person could die when he fired four bullets through a toilet door in his home early on Valentine’s Day last year.
Diamond League Promoter Rules out Pistorius Invitation
Sept. 14 — Oscar Pistorius is unlikely to be welcome at future Diamond League events, a promoter of the series says.
Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide after a judge ruled he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by mistake.
The 27-year-old faces up to 15 years in jail, although the judge could suspend the sentence or only impose a fine, allowing him to compete again.
Asked if he would invite Pistorius, Brussels Diamond League chief Wilfried Meert said: “I don’t think so, no.”
Oscar Pistorius could still compete at Rio Paralympics
Meert believes his stance on the six-time Paralympic gold medalist, who will be sentenced on 13 October, will be shared by other Diamond League promoters.
He said: “Having met quite a lot of them recently, once in a while the conversation turned to the Pistorius case and I don’t think there are many around that will accept him again in their meet.”
The International Paralympic Committee has already stated that the South African will be allowed to compete at the 2016 Paralympic Games if he is not in jail.
But Meert, speaking to BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek program, added: “There will always be so much doubt around him.
“He is not the kind of person you want to make a promotion for our sport.”
Pistorius made history by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics when he took part in the 400m at London 2012.
Pistorious Found Guilty of Culpable Homicide
Sept. 12 — Oscar Pistorius on Friday was convicted of culpable homicide by a South African judge who found him negligent in firing four gunshots into a locked toilet cubicle in his home last year, killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius, who was acquitted of murder charges on Thursday, could face significant prison time on the negligent killing conviction, or none, depending on how reckless he was in the view of Judge Thokozile Masipa. The judge allowed Pistorius to remain free on bail despite the prosecution’s request to place him in custody until sentencing, scheduled for Oct. 13.
Judge Rules out Murder for Pistorious, Cites Negligence
Sept. 11 — A South African judge ruled out convicting Oscar Pistorius of murder Thursday but said the Olympic athlete acted negligently when he shot and killed his girlfriend last year, opening the door to a manslaughter conviction.
As Pistorius wept, Judge Thokozile Masipa told a packed courtroom that prosecutors hadn’t proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the runner famed for his carbon fiber running blades had intended to kill his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day last year. They, therefore, fell short of the premeditated murder conviction that they sought, as well as a lesser, second-degree murder charge, she said.
“There just aren’t enough facts to support such a finding,” Masipa said.
However, the judge said that Mr. Pistorius was wrong to fire four shots in rapid succession through his locked bathroom door—even if he believed there was an intruder inside and not his 29-year-old girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.
“I am of the view that the accused acted too hastily and used excessive force,” the judge said. “It is clear that his conduct was negligent.”
Masipa then abruptly adjourned her reading of her decision until Friday. That decision capped a dramatic day but left open the precise verdict that she will reach and the sentence it might carry. The outcome was a common one in South Africa, where judges give a thorough explanation for the verdicts they reach without a jury and often indicate which way they might rule before concluding with a formal verdict.
A charge of “culpable homicide,” or manslaughter, carries a wide range of possible sentences in South Africa, from a fine to more than a decade in prison. Pistorius also faces three weapons charges that the judge didn’t address in detail Thursday.
Pistorious Trials Ends; Judge Set Verdict Date
Aug. 8 – The murder trial for Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius came to an end Friday (8) with a closing argument from the defense, and Judge Thokozile Masipa has scheduled a verdict date of September 11.
The prosecution made its closing statement on Thursday and urged the judge to convict Pistorius of premeditated murder in the shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius’ defense team made its final argument Friday and again maintained that the double-amputee runner believed an intruder was in the bathroom when he fired four shots through the door.
Steenkamp was killed by Pistorius on Feb. 14, 2013 in the bathroom of his home.
Judge Masipa, with the aid of two associates, will decide guilt or innocence. South Africa does not have trial by jury.
Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the premeditated murder charge. There is also no death penalty in South Africa. He could receive a lighter sentence if the judge decides guilt without premeditation.
In addition to the murder charge, Pistorius also faces charges of contravening South Africa’s Firearms Control Act.
The lengthy trial began March 3 and was broadcast throughout South Africa and other parts of the world. It was delayed for about two weeks in late April and early May, then again for nearly the entire month of June after the prosecution requested testing for Pistorius after the defense team contended he suffered from an anxiety disorder that likely caused his reaction to fire a gun instead of run away from a potential intruder on the day of the shooting.
Steenkamp, who was 29 years old, was a model and reality television star in South Africa.
Pistorius, known as the “Blade Runner,” made history at the London Olympics in 2012 when he became the first double-amputee runner to compete in the Games. He had both legs amputated before he was a year old after being born without fibula bones and runs on prosthetic blades.
American Quarter-Miler Dies in Car Crash
July 28 – American 400m runner Torrin Lawrence died in a car crash on Monday (28). He was 25.
Born in April 1989, Lawrence ran for the University of Georgia. During his time there, he won the 2010 NCAA indoor 400m title.
That indoor season, he held the three-fastest times in the world, and the quickest of those, 45.03, puts him equal sixth on the world indoor all-time list.
More recently he was part of the US 4x400m squad which took gold at the IAAF World Relays in Nassau. In his last ever race earlier this month, he set an outdoor PB of 45.32 when winning in Kortrijk.
He died after a truck collided with his car near Cordele in Georgia.
The Blade Runner ‘Had No Mental Dis order’, Court Hears
June 30 – Oscar Pistorius did not have a mental disorder when he killed his girlfriend, a psychological report said as his murder trial resumed.
That meant the Olympic athlete was criminally responsible for his actions when he shot her, the prosecution said.
The defence team has said Pistorius was suffering from an anxiety disorder.
The athlete denies deliberately killing Reeva Steenkamp. He says he shot her accidentally in a state of panic after mistaking her for an intruder.
The prosecution says Pistorius deliberately killed Steenkamp following an argument.
Both prosecution and defence have accepted the results of the psychological report but it has not been published.
“Mr Pistorius did not suffer from a mental illness or defect that would have rendered him criminally not responsible for the offence charged,” said state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, reading from the psychologist report.
Judge Thokozile Masipa said she had only received it on Monday morning and so had not yet read it, reports the AFP news agency.
Cuba Denounces Denial of US Visas for World Juniors
June 20 – The Cuban Athletics Federation denounced the refusal of visas for four members of the Caribbean delegation that will attend the World Youth Athletics Championship to be held in Eugene, the United States.
According to a note released on Wednesday, the U.S. Interests Section denied visas to Liagmanis Povea and Andy Diaz (triple jump), Roger Valentin Iribarne (110m hurdles) and Zurian Hechevarría (400m hurdles), the Cubadebate Web site reported on Thursday.
The text adds that although all requests were presented in accordance with established norms, “the cases of Jose Bordon (Head Coach) and Alberto Juantorena (President of the Cuban Athletics Federation and member of the IAAF Council)” are in a process of consultation, without certainty of positive response.
The Cuban Athletics Federation pointed out that it has informed the International Federation about the situation, its U.S. counterpart, and the local organizing committee, insisting in the fact that it will be represented at the competition only if visas are given to all the members of its delegation.
Oscar Pistorius Begins Psychiatric Evaluation
May 29 – Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial began a new phase Monday when the Olympic athlete arrived at a state psychiatric hospital for a month-long evaluation whose terms have been described by some as favorable to the double-amputee runner.
Pistorius, who killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home last year, sat in the passenger seat of a black sedan and spoke on a cellphone as he arrived behind a police van at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital in Pretoria, the South African administrative capital.
The judge who will deliver a verdict in the case asked the hospital to determine whether Pistorius had a mental disorder at the time of the shooting, which could affect whether he should be held criminally responsible.
Pistorius must arrive by 9 a.m. and can leave by 4 p.m. each weekday, and has weekends off under an order from Judge Thokozile Masipa. Pistorius, who is free on bail, has been staying at the upscale Pretoria home of his uncle.
The athlete’s outpatient status troubles some experts who say 24-hour observation is common in state psychiatric facilities. In the evenings, nursing staff can get additional insights into a patient’s mental state that complement formal questioning and other tests during the day, the experts say.
“There is a benefit” to the after-hours observation, said Lee-Ann Hartman, a clinical psychologist who has worked in state psychiatric facilities.
Masipa’s instruction came after a psychiatrist testified that Pistorius, who has said he feels particularly vulnerable because of his disability and long-held worry about crime, had an anxiety disorder that could have contributed to his shooting of Steenkamp on Feb. 14, 2013. The judge was responding to a prosecution request for an independent inquiry, based on concern the defense would argue Pistorius was not guilty because of mental illness.
May 15 – T’dad’s Cedenio, Borel for Hampton Games
Top junior quarter-miler Machel Cedenio and veteran shot-putter Cleopatra Borel are expected to feature at the 2014 Hampton International Games, which will take place this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
Action will begin at 2.30 pm each day, but the official ceremony will be staged on Saturday at 2 pm.
According to the Games’ organisers, Cedenio, the reigning CARIFTA Games Boys Under-20 400-metre champion, and the perennial national champ Borel are scheduled to take part, as well as former national 100m sprint king Darrel Brown.
There are also expected to be athletes from the United States, Cuba and Jamaica at the two-day meet, which is the second major track and field event in Trinidad and Tobago this year, following on the heels of the Twilight Games, which was staged at the Mucurapo venue on May 2.
May 13 – 177 Nations for IAAF World Juniors
With the deadline for preliminary entries now closed, the IAAF World Junior Championships Oregon 2014 – to be held July 22-27 at historic Hayward Field – will be the largest IAAF event ever contested on U.S. soil.
A total of 177 national federations, from Algeria to Zimbabwe, have expressed their intent to compete at the six-day track and field meet. Those nations are expected to be represented by more than 1,750 athletes, under the age of 20, and an additional 750 team officials.
“We couldn’t be more excited for this fantastic event and to welcome our guests from around the world,” said Vin Lananna, president of TrackTown USA, the local organizing committee for the IAAF World Junior Championships.
“I know that the entire TrackTown community will do everything in its power to make this an unforgettable experience for both the athletes and fans.”
The University of Oregon, which has launched an innovative student-ambassador program to assist each visiting nation with language and cultural skills, has nine athletes on the current UO track and field team with past experience at the 2012 and 2010 IAAF World Junior Championships.
They are Laura Roesler, Mike Berry, Parker Stinson, Trevor Dunbar, Johnathan Cabral, Tanguy Pepiot, Haley Crouser, Lindsay Crevoiserat and Ryan Pickering.
Member federations have until July 7 to submit their list of final entries for the IAAF World Junior Championships.
Last held in Barcelona in 2012, the meet is held every two years. It showcases the future stars of the sport, many of whom could compete in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
A total of 17 world record-holders, both men and women, have competed in the IAAF World Junior Championships since the inaugural event was staged in Athens, Greece in 1986.
May 12 – Prosecutor Wants Psychiatric Evaluation of Pistorious
Oscar Pistorius prosecutor Gerrie Nel wants the South African track star sent for independent psychiatric evaluation, he said Monday, in a move that could delay the athlete’s murder trial for a month or more.
A psychiatrist testified Monday that Pistorius has an anxiety disorder stemming from his double amputation as an infant and his unstable parents.
He’s depressed now and feeling guilt from having killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, defense witness Dr. Meryl Vorster said on the stand.
Nel responded by comparing the athlete’s mental state to post-traumatic stress disorder and saying the law required psychiatric observation.
The prosecutor’s extremely unusual move is essentially an effort to maneuver the court into considering an insanity or “capacity” defense even though the athlete’s legal team is not mounting one, CNN legal analyst Kelly Phelps said. Phelps, a criminologist and law lecturer at the University of Cape Town, said she had never seen this done before.
Pistorius’ lead defense lawyer, Barry Roux, is fighting back, saying Nel is oversimplifying the law.
The question was left unresolved when court adjourned for the day. Nel is due to submit his application on Tuesday after both sides have finished questioning Vorster.
May 5 – ‘Oscar Pistorius Begged Me to Take Reeva to Hospital
A neighbor of Oscar Pistorius feared he might take his own life immediately after he shot his girlfriend dead, and ran after him to ensure he did not turn his gun on himself, a court has heard on Monday.
Carice Viljoen, who with her father was first on the scene after the shooting on Valentine’s Day last year, said the athlete was in a “frantic” state as he fought to stop Reeva Steenkamp bleeding, and prayed to God to save her life.
The testimony from the fifth defence witness came as the case at the high court in Pretoria resumed following a two-week break. Pistorius, 27, slumped forward in the dock with his head in his hands as the story was told again.
Viljoen, a legal adviser and friend of Pistorius, who lived 350-400 metres from his home, recalled that she had been woken by her dogs barking. She then heard a man’s voice crying: “Help! Help! Help!”
She was scared and joined her father, Johan Stander, in driving to Pistorius’s house, where they were confronted by a scene of horror.
“The first thing I saw was Oscar carrying Reeva down the stairs,” she said. “We were facing each other. He was walking rather fast. He was frantic – ‘Carice, please, Carice, please, can we get her in the car and take her to the hospital’.
“He was begging me to put her in the car. I told him to put her down. I told him we just need to see what’s going on. I just saw blood everywhere.
“I said we need to stop the bleeding. I proceeded up the stairs to his linen cupboard and I grabbed a few towels. He was praying to God the whole time; he was begging Reeva to stay with him. He was begging and pleading with Reeva: stay with me, my love, stay with me.”
She said the athlete tried to stem the blood and keep the 29-year-old’s airway open. At one point, she asked Pistorius what had happened. “He just looked at me and he said, ‘I thought it was an intruder’.”
April 17 – Pistorius Trial Adjourns Until May
The murder trial of Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius was adjourned on Thursday until May 5 after the state wrapped up three days of punishing cross-examination of a forensic expert brought by the defense.
Judge Thokozile Masipa granted the state’s request for a postponement to avoid conflicts with other cases.
Pistorius, 27, is on trial for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot dead with four rounds from a 9mm pistol on Valentine’s Day last year in his plush Pretoria house.
The track star insists he killed the 29-year-old law graduate and model after mistaking her for an intruder hiding in the toilet.
Before the shooting, Pistorius was one of the most revered figures in sport, a man who had his lower legs amputated as a child but who reached the semi-finals of the 400m at the London Olympics in 2012 running on carbon-fiber prosthetic ‘blades’
The trial, which has garnered massive domestic and international attention, is due to resume on May 5, two days before South Africa goes to the polls for a national election.
Defense advocate Barry Roux is expected to call his next witness once the trial resumes.
April 17 – JADCO Man Charged With Running Prostitution Ring
A member of the disciplinary panel that banned sprinter Asafa Powell and his former training partner, Sherone Simpson for 18 months for a drug violation has been charged with running a prostitution ring on the Caribbean island.
Lennox Gayle, the deputy chairman of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel, was arrested and charge by Jamaica’s Organized Crime Investigation Division for alleged breaches of the country’s Sex Offence Act and Consumer Protection Act.
The 45 year-old is a practicing lawyer but is also alleged to have operated a massage parlor in Montego Bay, Jamaica’s second city, where prostitutes posed as masseuses. He is accused of living off immoral earnings and misleading and deceptive conduct.
He was charged following a raid on the parlor during which seven women were arrested on suspicion of prostitution.
Gayle was later bailed to appear in court on May 5 following a two-month investigation known as “Operation Fix it”, which has been targeting individuals allegedly involved in human trafficking and prostitution.
It was Gayle who released a statement on April 10 confirming Powell’s ban on the grounds that he “was found to be negligent and that he was at fault.”
April 16 – Expert Witness for defence Accused of Irresponsibility
An expert witness for Oscar Pistorius’s defence was accused of “irresponsibility” on Wednesday after admitting that he is not trained in ballistics, light, sound or blood spatter evidence and was not present at Reeva Steenkamp’s postmortem.
Roger Dixon, a geologist and university lecturer who worked at a police forensic laboratory in Pretoria for 18 years, came under sustained attack from prosecutor Gerrie Nel over his credentials and the manner of his investigation.
Pistorius watched from the dock, burying his head in his hands and retching at one stage, as Dixon described the impact of the bullets he fired on Valentine’s Day last year, including one that struck Steenkamp’s arm “like an instant amputation”. The Paralympic sprinter denies murder, claiming that he fired by accident because he feared an intruder.
Earlier in the trial Pistorius’s defence counsel had raised allegations of police bungling and botched evidence, but now it was the turn of the prosecution to tear into the 27-year-old’s team of experts. Dixon was subjected to the same withering cross-examination from Nel, known as “the pitbull”, that Pistorius himself endured for five torrid days in the witness box.
April 13 – Victim’s Family Calls Pistorius a ‘Disgusting Liar’
The knives are out for the Blade Runner.
The family of Reeva Steenkamp is lashing out at Oscar Pistorius after he spent three days testifying through tears about his slain girlfriend.
“He is trying to convince the court that they were really close and that he cared for her,” Steenkamp’s sister, Simone, told London’s The Mail on Sunday.
“It’s not true. He is a disgusting liar.”
The 27-year-old track star delivered riveting testimony last week in the sensational murder trial in South Africa.
In between sobs, Pistorius stuck to his story that he accidentally blew away his stunning model girlfriend through a bathroom door after mistaking her for a burglar.
“Why can’t he end this agony for all of us who loved Reeva, and just tell the truth?” Simone Steenkamp asked. “That’s all we want, the end of this trial and some closure at last.”
Simone Steenkamp said her family is furious over Pistorius’ courtroom behavior. She described an encounter in which Pistorius walked past family members without acknowledging them and then started smirking once he sat down.
“He killed my sister, and yet he still seems to be enjoying his celebrity status,” Simone Steenkamp said.
On Friday, Pistorius endured relentless questioning by chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who insisted the star athlete intentionally shot his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day 2013 after a lovers’ quarrel.
Pistorius will be back on the stand Monday.
April 13 – Eugene May Bid For 2019 Worlds
Barcelona, Doha and Eugene are all set to bid for the 2019 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships.
Applications from the three cities are expected to be confirmed at a two-day meeting of the IAAF’s ruling Council, due to start in Senegalese capital Dakar tomorrow.
It will be a second consecutive bid from Doha, the Qatari capital, which lost out to London in November 2011 in its campaign to host the 2017 IAAF World Championships.
They will probably start as favorites, due to its financial strength, but there will be strong pressure from within the IAAF Council to take their flagship event to the United States for the first time since it was launched in 1983.
The US is the most successful country in the history of the Championships, having won a total of 300 medals, including 138 gold, ten of them won by Carl Lewis, whose total included eight titles.
Eugene is due to host this year’s IAAF World Junior Championships and will be hoping to use the event to impress international officials.
April 9 – Prosecutor Says Pistorious Is Lying
Oscar Pistorius was accused of “lying” in evidence to his murder trial Wednesday and rehearsing his answers as he underwent a sustained and exhaustive cross-examination by the prosecution.
In a testy exchange with state lawyer Gerrie Nel, the sprinter was repeatedly asked about discrepancies between statements to the trial and earlier statements to police and at his bail hearing.
Nel complained that the athlete was restating his defense rather than answering questions about the events on the night he fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
“You’re thinking of the implication of the answer,” he said. “Don’t think of the implications for you, Mr. Pistorius.”
“My life is on the line,” the Olympic runner said.
Reeva “doesn’t have a life anymore,” Nel retorted. “Did your gun go off accidentally, yes or no?”
“My firearm was in my possession. I had my finger on the trigger. It was an accident what happened,” the athlete said.
“I fired my firearm before I could think. When I fired my firearm I believed that someone was coming out of the toilet. It’s not just a physical accident. What I’m saying is that, at the time, I didn’t know what to think. I fired into the toilet door I believed someone was coming out.”
Nel asked: “Is the implication of your answer bothering you?”
“I didn’t intend to shoot at anyone,” Pistorius replied.
On Tuesday, Pistorius told the court he had fired at the toilet because he thought somebody was inside. “I heard a noise from inside the toilet, what I perceived to be somebody coming out of the toilet,” he said. “Before I knew it, I fired four shots at the door.”
Earlier Wednesday, Nel asked a string of detailed questions about the scene of the killing, which the defense is expected to argue was contaminated by police blunders.
Nel often expressed frustration at the athlete’s responses, in one case saying: “You’ve rehearsed that answer. You’ve got long answers, it’s not good for you.” In another exchange, Nel said: “You did not answer my question. You’re not listening.”
April 7 – Pistorious Takes The Stand
PRETORIA, South Africa – Having to stifle sobs, Oscar Pistorius took the witness stand Monday in his murder trial and apologized to the family of the girlfriend he shot dead, describing himself as being traumatized and awakening from nightmares to the “smell of blood.”
Pistorius’ voice quavered so much and was so low that Judge Thokozile Masipa asked him to speak up to the packed courtroom as he described his remorse for having killed Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 14, 2013. He said he mistook her for an intruder when he fired four times through a locked toilet stall door in his home. Prosecutors said he shot her as she screamed in terror after they had an argument in the predawn hours of Valentine’s Day.
“There hasn’t been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven’t thought about your family,” the double-amputee star athlete said as he addressed the courtroom and Steenkamp’s mother, June, who looked straight at him, stone-faced.
“I wake up every morning, and you’re the first people I think of, the first people I pray for … I was simply trying to protect Reeva. I can promise that when she went to bed that night she felt loved,” Pistorius said.
Prosecutors allege the Olympian murdered her with premeditation by shooting her in the head, arm and hip after an argument and have sought to paint him as a hothead with an inflated sense of entitlement and an obsession with firearms.
In his testimony, Pistorius also said he is on antidepressant medicine and now has trouble sleeping, and described one night when he went to hide in a closet after waking up in “a panic.”
“I climbed into a cupboard and I phoned my sister to come and sit by me, which she did for a while,” Pistorius said.
His testimony on Day 17 of his trial in Pretoria came on the same day his defense opened its case. Legal experts said it was crucial to his case that he testify to explain why he shot Steenkamp. Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder.
April 4 – When Will Pistorious Take The Stand?
Oscar Pistorius has yet to testify in his murder trial. That will change next week, when the South African sprinter takes the stand.
The Olympian is expected to speak about the murder of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to CNN. Pistorius has admitted to shooting and killing Steenkamp, though he claims he mistook her for an intruder.
When Pistorius takes the stand, he’ll likely be asked to clarify his recollection of the night in question. Several of his statements immediately following the alleged murder have been called into question throughout the case.
The 27-year-old claims that on Valentine’s Day 2013, he and his girlfriend were in the bedroom by 10 p.m. Pathologist Gert Saayman performed the autopsy on Steenkamp, and testified that the model probably had her last meal around 1 a.m. Capt. Francois Moller presented evidence claiming Steenkamp’s iPhone was used hours after Pistorius says the two went to bed.
Despite indications that much of Pistorius’s story may be false, the sprinter contends that he had no intention of shooting his girlfriend. In the courtroom, he’s had multiple emotional displays, crying and even vomiting when Steenkamp’s death was described in detail.
March 25 – Prosecution Rests in Pistorious Trial
The prosecution in the murder trial of South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius rested its case Tuesday after the defense tried to undermine allegedly damning text exchanges between the athlete and his girlfriend by arguing that the messages also demonstrated a loving relationship.
Pistorius, 27, is accused of killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp following an argument last year on Valentine’s Day. The double-amputee athlete known as “Blade Runner,” has pleaded not guilty, saying he killed Steenkamp by accident, mistaking her for an intruder when he fired four shots into a bathroom door at his Pretoria home.
On Monday, the prosecution in the trial in Pretoria, South Africa, introduced text messages, recovered from Steenkamp’s mobile phone, in which the 29-year-old model complained about Pistorius’s alleged short temper.
“You have picked on me excessively … I do everything to make you happy and you do everything to throw tantrums … ” began one message she sent Pistorius three weeks before the fatal shooting, TimesLive reported.
“I’m scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and of how you will react to me,” the message continued. “You make me happy ninety percent of the time and I think we are amazing together … but I am not some other bitch … trying to kill your vibe…”
The exchanges were read out by police cellphone analyst Captain Francois Moller.
On Tuesday, defense lawyer Barry Roux noted that tense messages were only a tiny fraction of the roughly 1,700 messages that Moller took from Steenkamp’s phone.
Roux noted a January 19 exchange between the pair in which Reeva sent Pistorius a photo of herself in a hoodie and made a kissing face, followed by the message: “You like it?”
“I love it,” Pistorius replied.
“So warm,” Steenkamp responded.
In another exchange, dated late January 2013, Steenkamp sent a message that said, “Truth is, i miss you.” Pistorius replied: “I’m missing you so, so much!”
March 23 – Court Extends Pistorious Trial to May 16
The murder trial of double-amputee Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, also known as the “blade runner,” who is accused of shooting dead his girlfriend, has been extended until May 16, the South African court hearing the case said today.
The trial, which enters its fourth week on Monday, the 24th, will continue until April 4, then break for a one-week recess before resuming from April 14 until May 16, the court announced in a statement, saying “all parties involved” had agreed to the dates.
Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel said last week that he expects to wrap up his case this coming week.
March 20 – Oscar Pistorius Trial Takes Unexpected Turn
The Oscar Pistorius trial was unexpectedly adjourned yesterday, leaving legal experts wondering what is really going on behind the scenes.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who listed 107 possible witnesses at the start of the trial, yesterday revealed that he was close to wrapping up his case and asked for an adjournment until Monday.
Only 18 witnesses have testified so far, and Nel has told the judge he only has four or five left to call, meaning Pistorius could take the stand as early as next week.
Nel claimed he had not expected the cross-examination of the witnesses to finish so quickly, so requested time “in the interests of justice” to prepare the final stages of the case. He said he wanted to spend Thursday and the long weekend – Friday is a public holiday in South Africa to mark Human Rights Day – consulting his witnesses.
March 20 – Pistorius Puts Home on Sale to Pay Trial Costs
Oscar Pistorius plans to sell the 5m rand (£277,000) house where he shot dead his girlfriend to cover spiraling legal fees for his murder trial, his lawyer said on Thursday.
The Paralympian has not gone back to the house in a gated community in Pretoria since he killed Reeva Steenkamp in an upstairs bathroom last year.
“It has become necessary to sell Mr. Pistorius’s home in the Silver Woods Country Estate in Pretoria in order for him to raise the necessary funds to cover his increasing legal costs,” lawyer Brian Webber said.
“This is due to the unexpected extension of the trial beyond the initial three-week period for which it was originally set down.”
Pistorius, 27, has been funding his own defense since his arrest, Webber said. “Due to the delay in finalizing the trial, the decision to urgently dispose of his single biggest asset has had to be made. Mr. Pistorius has never returned to his home in Silver Woods since the tragedy of 14 February 2013. Mr. Pistorius cannot contemplate ever returning to live there again.”
March 20 – Diack Confirms Retirement From IAAF Next Year
President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Lamine Diack said on Thursday that he would retire from the position in 2015.
Diack announced the plan at a luncheon he organized for the African members of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS-Africa) participating in the AIPS Congress in Dakar.
He said that by 2015, he would have served cumulatively for a total of 39 years at the top level of athletics from Africa to the world level.
“I have served enough; I need to spend more time now with my family, especially my grand children, many of whom want to see me more often.
“I have also had a fulfilled time at the top of the sports. Africa is now making strong impact in the sports at the highest level.
“I gave myself some tasks as an agent of change in the IAAF. At the time I joined the ranks from the African level, many European countries had five to six votes while Africa and other developing countries had just a vote.
“But today, the story is different as virtually all countries now have equal votes. As I leave, my immediate desires are to leave the association stronger,” Diack said.
March 14 – Blade Manufacturer Drops Pistorius
Ossur hf, the Icelandic company that manufactures the blades used by Oscar Pistorius, has ended its advertising contract with the paralympian as he is tried for the murder of his girlfriend.
“It’s up to the courts of South Africa to rule in this matter,” Sveinn Solvason, Ossur’s chief financial officer, said today by phone. “We, as Ossur, don’t have any official stand in this matter on whether the man is innocent or guilty. But we’re no longer sponsoring Oscar Pistorius.”
Pistorius, a six-time Paralympic gold medalist known as the blade runner because of the Ossur prosthetics he uses, has pleaded not guilty to the charge of intentionally killing model Reeva Steenkamp in his bathroom. The 27-year-old double-amputee says he thought she was an intruder when he shot her through a toilet cubicle. The prosecution alleges he shot Steenkamp three times after the couple had an argument.
The charges have wrecked Pistorius’s career, and cost him sponsorship deals with Nike Inc. and Luxottica Group SpA’s Oakley. Ossur’s main office in the Icelandic capital has also removed all images of Pistorius that once adorned its walls.
The athlete, who also faces three gun charges, has been free on 1 million rand ($93,000) bail.
March 14 – Ex-Top Cop’s Testimony Helps Pistorious Defense
The police investigation into the killing of Reeva Steenkamp by Oscar Pistorius sounded like a catalog of bumbling, bad judgment, poor memory and petty theft in court on Friday, and it was the commanding officer on the scene the night of the killing who was testifying.
According to a CNN report, former police Col. G.S. van Rensburg was on the stand all day, first for the prosecution and then being cross-examined by the defense.
He described finding a police ballistics expert handling Pistorius’ gun without wearing gloves and reprimanding the officer, who apologized and put on gloves.
And he said he was “furious” when at least one of the Olympic athlete’s valuable wristwatches disappeared from his bedroom as police investigated the crime scene.
He “body searched” his fellow officers, their bags and their vehicles but was unable to find the watch, which was worth several thousand dollars.
He also said he had ordered the bathroom door through which Pistorius shot Steenkamp removed from the house, placed in a body bag and taken to his office, explaining that “the door is the most valuable evidence because the deceased was behind the door.”
Earlier in the week, the defense attacked police handling of the door, implying that the evidence was unreliable because it was contaminated.
Van Rensburg resigned from the force in December after three decades, under fire for his handling of the door. Asked what he now did for a living, he choked up and said, “I am now coaching sports, and sports is my life.”
March 12 – Jamaica’s World Challenge Meet Attracts Top Stars
Olympic and World (Outdoor and Indoor champion) Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and a number of Jamaican and foreign athletes are scheduled to compete at IAAF World Challenge/Jamaica International Invitational on May 3 in Kingston.
Two of Fraser-Pryce’s compatriots and MVP female teammates, Kaliese Spencer and Stephanie McPherson, are already confirmed to showcase their talent at the meet which has been taking place in the island’s capital for a few years.
Also booked to make appearances are Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix of the USA, Nigerian star sprinter and long jumper Blessing Okagbare, Jamaica-born Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross, World 100m hurdles champion Briana Rollins and World Indoor 400m champion Francena McCorory.
On the men’s side, World 400m champion American LaShawn Merritt and his compatriots Justin Gatlin, the 2013 Moscow World Championships 100m silver medalist and Curtis Mitchell, the 200m bronze medalist, will be there. Jamaica’s perennial medal contender and relay specialist Nesta Carter is the biggest name so far among the local male contingent. He will be joined by Nickel Ashmeade, who missed out on individual medals at last year’s World Championship but picked up gold as a member of the sprint relay team. Ashmeade won the 200m at the 2013 edition.
March 10 — Pistorius Sick as Murder Trial Hears Autopsy Details
Oscar Pistorius broke down and threw up in court Monday as he heard a pathologist testify about his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp’s injuries after he shot her dead on Valentine’s Day last year, CNN has reported.
The testimony of pathologist Gert Saayman was interrupted by Pistorius’ sobbing and retching, leading to a pause in the proceedings.
Earlier, Judge Thokozile Masipa imposed a broadcast blackout on Saayman’s testimony. Masipa, who has been presiding over the weeklong trial in Pretoria, extended the ban to live reporting on Twitter.
Pistorius, also known as the Blade Runner, admitted he shot Steenkamp, 29, but said it was a tragic case of mistaken identity and that he thought she was an intruder who had broken into his home.
Pistorius appeared deeply physically distressed throughout the testimony, repeatedly making retching sounds and clutching his head in his hands. The track star, 27, appeared at times to try to cover his ears by clasping his hands behind his neck, or he put his fingers in his ears. His brother and sister came to check on him during the brief break in Saayman’s testimony.
March 10 — US men’s 4x400m Set World Indoor Record
The United States men set a world record in the 4×400 meters relay yesterday to cap a dominating performance throughout the World Indoor Championships held in Sopot, Poland.
In the last event of the three-day meet, Kyle Clemons, David Verburg, Kind Butler, and Calvin Smith got the baton around in a time of 3mins, 2.13secs, slashing .70 off the 15-year-old indoor mark set by another US relay team at the 1999 edition.
The US team beat Britain into silver and Jamaica took bronze.