Nyongani not giving up on Pistorius

HARARE - Oscar Pistorius will be stuck inside a single cell on the hospital wing of Pretoria's maximum security jail as the Paralympics — he dominated in successive Games — kick off today in Rio de Janeiro.

He will perhaps be staring out the window from his single cell, where he is being held for up to 22 hours a day, with memories of his past triumphs in Beijing and London his likeliest companions.

For some, including sponsors who have torn down billboards bearing his image, those successes no longer hold much value since the blade runner fatally shot his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013.

But for Zimbabwean athlete Talkmore Nyongani — who helped train Pistorius in the build up to the blade runner’s 2012 London Olympic participation —  the disgraced sprinter is not finished yet.

“I visited him in prison recently we spoke a little about it. He had always had his goals in place,” Nyongani, 33, told the Daily News from South Africa yesterday.

“This was the perfect moment for him. It would have been his fourth Games and a chance to re-write the off field wrongs of London.

“So his morale is low with everything that happened but he is one person with a strong and positive mindset.”

Pistorius’ incarceration drew the ire of the International Paralympic Committee, who in 2014 confirmed that the 29-year-old would be denied entry to its competitions until 2019.

This was after the sprinter was sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison for shooting dead Steenkamp through a locked lavatory door.

The Paralympian athlete was later released under correctional supervision after serving 10 months of the five-year sentence.

In July this year, he was handed a six-year prison sentence following a successful appeal to upgrade his original conviction of culpable homicide to murder.

But Nyongani feels Pistorius, who could be out sooner on good behaviour, can make a comeback at the Tokyo Games in 2020 – when he would be nearly 34.

The double amputee made history when he became the first disabled athlete to compete at the Olympic Games after being picked by South Africa for the 400m as well as the 4x400m relay squad and has already received a seal of approval from South Africa’s Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) chief executive officer Tubby Reddy.

The Sasco boss recently gave the sprinter the green light to participate at Tokyo 2020 insisting by then he  would have “paid his debt”  to society and should be free to compete.

“That was a welcome boost for him,” said Nyongani, who rose to prominence in 2002 at the World Junior Championships in Jamaica.

“This year’s Games he wanted them to be his last….But he still pushing for Tokyo 2020. He still has the will.”

The clock is, however, ticking on Pistorius.

Nyongani, a two-time Zimbabwean Olympian, believes the sprinter has the potential to defy studies that suggest sprinters peak in their mid-to-late 20s.

“He has six years, if he behaves he may serve two and a half years then he has about a few years to prepare and qualify for Tokyo 2020,” he said.

“He still has the feeling, he wants want to come back for himself and for his fans.

“I was telling him about King Collins from Saint Kitts and Nevis (who at 40 was the oldest sprinter at the Rio Olympics, and is already the oldest male to have competed in the IAAF World Indoor Championships).

“I was telling him that he can still do it at 34. The opportunity, resources and people who can him get there are there. He just needs to stay focused.”

Easier said than done for man in prison where the clock seems to tick a minute slower.

Comments (3)

pistorius is finished...he is a convicted murderer and he will never (and quite rightly) race again...his sentence will be increased to fit a convicted killer..

crasterfarai - 8 September 2016

Young Talkmore Nyongani.

Lodza - 8 September 2016

Keep dreaming, Nyongeni. I just wonder if you would have been dreaming the same way if Reeva Steenkamp were your siste, your daughter, your mother or your wife. Oscar's "good behaviour" should have shown years ago!

Helena Nickerson - 8 September 2016

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