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Pistorius free to travel after bail conditions relaxed

Published: 6:41AM Friday March 29, 2013 Source: Reuters

"Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius was granted permission to travel abroad today, when a South African judge relaxed bail conditions imposed after the Paralympic and Olympic track star was charged with murdering his girlfriend.

Judge Bert Bam said the 26-year-old double amputee, who won worldwide fame last year when he reached the 400m semi-finals at the London Olympics, could have his passport back and no longer needed to report to a probation officer.

The relaxation of initially tough bail conditions for Pistorius opens up the possibility that he could return to competition this year, including the IAAF World Championships in August.

But agent Peet van Zyl said it was too early to say whether Pistorius was in the right shape physically and mentally to return to the track, after being charged with murder for shooting dead girlfriend and model Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day.

"We're not just going to jump now and grab any opportunity to run," van Zyl said. "It's Oscar's choice - he has got to be up for it. It will be his decision alone."

After his arrest, Pistorius cancelled scheduled appearances in March, April and May in Australia, Brazil, the United States and Britain.

Steenkamp's death stunned South Africa and the millions around the world who held Pistorius up as hero that triumphed over adversity to compete with able-bodied athletes at the highest levels of sport.

Prosecutors said he committed premeditated murder when he fired four shots into a locked toilet door, hitting 29-year-old Steenkamp, as she cowered on the other side. She suffered gunshot wounds to her head, hip and arm.

Pistorius has said the killing was a tragic mistake, and that he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder and opened fire in a blind panic.