Pistorius murder charge stuns UK training partner

British 400 metres runner Martyn Rooney has been left shocked by the news his friend and training partner Oscar Pistorius has been charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Martin Rooney outpaces Oscar Pistorius in the Norwich Union Grand Prix in Sheffield in 2007. British 400 metres runner Rooney has been left shocked by the news his friend and training partner Pistorius has been charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Rooney was with Pistorius at a training camp in South Africa last week, with reports in British newspapers saying he had also dined with the double amputee sprinter and Steenkamp in Pretoria on Saturday.

Pistorius, a gold medal winner at the 2012 London Paralympics, wept in court in Pretoria on Friday as he was charged with murder.

In a statement released through the British Athletics federation, Rooney said: "My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those involved.

"I will not be making any further comment on the events of this week and ask that this decision is respected."

Meanwhile Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who retained her 100 metres title at the London Olympics, said Friday she first heard the news when she arrived in Britain to compete at this weekend's Birmingham Grand Prix indoor meeting.

Fraser-Pryce said: "When I came off the plane at Heathrow and I gave the immigration officer my passport she said, 'What's your purpose for being here?'

"I said, 'I'm an athlete... She said, 'do you know Oscar Pistorius?' I said, 'Yes'. She said, 'He shot his girlfriend.' I was like, 'are you serious?'

"I've not really drawn a conclusion yet. I've not really processed the information. I've not heard what he has to say so it's very difficult to actually comment."

American sprinter Carmelita Jeter, due to run against Fraser-Pryce in the 60m at Birmingham, added: "I've seen him a couple of times at track meets, and he has always spoken to me and been very nice, so that's all that I know of him.

"I don't really know him as a person. It's definitely a sad situation, but the only thing I know is the same thing I saw on the news. I don't like to speculate. It will soon come out exactly what happened."

A statement from Pistorius's family and management company after Friday's court hearing said he denied the murder charge "in the strongest terms."

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Writer: AFP
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