The South African runner, Oscar Pistorius, whose ongoing murder trial has had a lot attention, is also a dear friend and humanitarian. A support page, created for him, is filled with messages from friends and fans and sheds light on the humanitarian side and as some might consider, his personality.
According to his website, Pistorius was a high school athlete encouraged by his sports-mad family, rugby player, and after suffering a knee injury in June, 2003, he feared that was it for his athletics. His doctor, however, advised him to pursue track running rehabilitation with athletics coach Ambie Louw at the University of Pretoria’s Sport Science Institute.
On new year’s day in 2004, after having trained with Louw since November, he participated in the first sprint session with the coach. On January 28th, competing for Pretoria Boys High School, he then ran his first competitive race, clocking in at a time of 11.72 seconds, while the Paralympic world record of the time was 12.20 seconds. In March, he further improved his time at the Pilditch Stadium in Pretoria, when he clocked in at 11.51 seconds during an open competition. In June, he was then invited to the US where he got introduced to the Flex-Foot Cheetahs, manufactured by Ossur, Iceland.
In september of 2005, just 2 months shy of a year after he started the rehabilitation with coach Louw, Pistorius ran to a Gold victory at the Paralympics, clocking in at 21.97 seconds, a world record for the T44 200m. He also took home a T44 100m bronze as he clocked in at 11.16 seconds. As of that, he went on to an extensive career as a sprint runner, with several awards for his achievements as of today.
Oscar Pistorius, now on trial for murder, has also contributed to humanitarian work, as an example of which, he is an ambassador for the Mineseeker Foundation, an organization whose aim to rid the world of land mines and provide care and aid to the victims. Another life deeply touched by the Blade Runner, is that of young Haflidi, an Icelandic boy who, much like the athlete himself, who also suffered a condition that led to an amputation of his legs in his early childhood.
To Haflidi and his family, Pistorius is an inspiration and an important role model. In an interview with South African publication, Mail&Guardian, Haflidi’s grandmother is reported to have stated that “Oscar is not the kind of person who’d hurt someone,” thus join the many voices who’d have a hard time believing him to be capable of intentionally committing the crime he’s now being trialed for.
Haflidi’s mother, Ebba Gudmundsdottir, told Guardian Liberty Voice’s reporter that her family is “grateful for the impact Oscar Pistorius has had on their lives, the support and friendship he has given her son, as well as guidance.” She will continue to support him as he goes through this challenging trial and further adds that “he’s still suffering the loss of Steenkamp, whom he loved deeply.” It seems like ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius, whom to many is a dear friend and humanitarian, will not be running alone as he faces this murder trial.
By Halldor Fannar Sigurgeirsson