Oscar Pistorius' uncle has cast doubt on the prospect of the Paralympian competing at this summer's World Championships by insisting his nephew has "no intention" of travelling overseas as he awaits trial for killing his girlfriend.
Arnold Pistorius says the 26-year-old is reliant on his family's support after fatally shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day, with the athlete claiming he mistook her for an intruder. After being granted bail last month, Pistorius' legal team were back in court on Thursday to challenge some of the conditions of his release and travel restrictions placed on Pistorius were lifted.
Immediate speculation suggested Pistorius could return to the track at the World Championships in Moscow this August. But Arnold Pistorius indicated that is unlikely for his nephew, who is likely to stand trial before the end of the year, telling Sky News: "We know Oscar cannot go anywhere in the world because everybody will recognise him."
He added: "He doesn't want to go anywhere and he doesn't want to go into public life because he's not ready - he's absolutely not ready to do that. Oscar's got no intention to travel overseas now - he needs his family. I can't see him getting along without the support of his family."
Pressed on when his nephew could return to the track, he replied: "Not in the near future. Not realistic. I don't think so." Arnold Pistorius admitted, however, that it was only a matter of time before Oscar would have to return to the track if he is to retain any chance of competing on the global stage.
"In the future, perhaps yes. I would like to say that," he said. "Knowledgeable people tell me that if a super athlete doesn't train for a year, he'll never get back to what he was, so we tried to convince him to get back into training. He knows that he'll have to do that. If he ever wants to run again he'll have to get back to training, otherwise he will just not be able to get back on track."
Pistorius, a double amputee and six-time Paralympic champion, claims he shot Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder in his Pretoria home, although prosecutors in the case maintain his actions amounted to premeditated murder.
He was released on bail last month but in return was ordered to hand over his two South African passports, stay away from his Pretoria residence and all witnesses in the case, abstain from alcohol and report to a local police station twice a week. His lawyer Barry Roux asked for those conditions to be relaxed on Thursday, with Judge Bert Bam granting the request.
Pressed on why Pistorius' legal team was keen for the return of his passports if he was unlikely to travel overseas, Arnold Pistorius said: "It was a legal point."
He added: "He doesn't want to take a blood test every Friday and those kinds of things. He doesn't want to be treated as a criminal because he's not a criminal - he's good-natured, soft-hearted, and he's got a broken heart at the moment. What is worse than losing someone you love and you have been the instrument? It's unthinkable."