Pistorius has not damaged Paralympic movement, says IPC

Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:50am EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Oscar Pistorius's conviction for culpable homicide after shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp will not harm the profile of the Paralympic movement, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said on Friday.

Double amputee Pistorius, an icon for the Paralympic movement and instrumental in its rise in popularity, was convicted on Friday after a lengthy trial that has gripped his native South Africa and the world.

"Since it started this trial has no impact on our activities," IPC chief executive Xavier Gonzalez said in a statement on Friday, following the conclusion of the trial.

"That will not change. The trial has had no negative impact on the Paralympic movement. Since London and Sochi 2014 we have seen an incredible growth in all aspects of our activities and we are looking forward positively to Rio and Pyeonchang.

"Oscar was a fundamental ambassador of the Paralympic movement in the period between 2008 and 2012. Since then the Paralympic movement has many other ambassadors and many other athletes that have been recognized globally.

"Following today's verdict, our thoughts remain with all those who have been affected by this terrible tragedy, in particular the family and friends of Reeva Steenkamp who sadly lost her life in this incident," the IPC statement added.

Pistorius, nicknamed the Blade Runner, won six gold medals in three Paralympics and took athletes with physical disabilities into the mainstream, competing in able-bodied races at the London 2012 Olympics.

He also competed at the 2011 world championships and won a silver medal in the 4x400m relay, though he did not run in the final.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Ken Ferris)

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius (L) starts in the men's 400m - T44 final in the Olympic Stadium at the London 2012 Paralympic Games September 8, 2012. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett