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Athletics:Paralympics to thrive despite Pistorius case - IPC

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The outcome of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial will not affect the future of the Paralympic movement, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Philip Craven insisted Tuesday.

Pistorius is arguably the world's most famous Paralympic competitor and the 'Blade Runner' was also the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in the Olympics.

But his career has been put on hold after he was charged with the murder of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and concerns have been expressed as to what this means for the Paralympic movement as a whole.

However, Craven said the IPC had a solid platform to build on following the success of the London 2012 Paralympics and their future was not tied to that of Pistorius.

"We must all remember that this is a police case and we have to remain impartial at all times," Craven wrote in an open letter on the IPC's website.

"The South African law courts will decide Oscar's fate over the coming months and only then will the full story of what actually happened emerge.

"At the IPC however, we can decide what happens next in terms of the Paralympic movement.

"The profile of our athletes has never been higher, nor has the demand to watch Paralympic sport. Research by LOCOG (London Organising Committee for the Games) post-London 2012 showed the public's awareness of the leading athletes tripled during the Games.

"Together it is our job to continue building this profile regardless of the outcome of this terrible case."

Pistorius has won six Paralympic gold medals including two in London last year but, following his arrest, his management company announced they had "no option" but to cancel all future races for which he was contracted, including the Manchester City Games in May.

The 26-year-old Pistorius denied premeditated murder at a court hearing in Pretoria on Tuesday that took place while the funeral of Steenkamp was held at a crematorium in her hometown of Port Elizabeth.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130219/athleticsparalympics-thrive-despite-pistorius-case-ipc