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‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius released on parole 11 years after murdering girlfriend –

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'Blade Runner' Pistorius Released On Parole 11 Years After Murdering Girlfriend -

South African former Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius was released on parole on Friday, nearly 11 years after murdering his girlfriend in a crime that shocked a nation long inured to violence against women.

Pistorius – dubbed “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fibre prosthetic legs – shot 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp dead through a locked bathroom door on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

He has repeatedly said he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he fired four shots into the bathroom at his Pretoria home, and he launched multiple appeals against his conviction on that basis.

“The Department of Correctional Services (is) able to confirm that Oscar Pistorius is a parolee, effectively from 5 January 2024. He was admitted into the system of Community Corrections and is now at home,” the country’s prisons department said in a statement.

Pistorius, now 37, has spent about eight and a half years in jail as well as seven months under home arrest before he was sentenced for murder. A parole board in November decided he could be freed after completing more than half his sentence.

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Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius reacts as he listens to Judge Thokozile Masipa’s judgement at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, September 11, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Ludbrook/Pool/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

In a statement shared by the Steenkamp family lawyer on Friday, Reeva’s mother June said: “There can never be justice if your loved one is never coming back, and no amount of time served will bring Reeva back.”

“We, who remain behind, are the ones serving a life sentence,” June Steenkamp said, adding her only desire was to be allowed to live in peace after Pistorius’ release on parole.

A monitoring official will keep an eye on him until his sentence expires in December 2029, whom Pistorius will have to inform if he seeks job opportunities or moves to a new address.

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He is also required to continue therapy on anger management and attend sessions on gender-based violence as part of his parole conditions , the Steenkamp family has said.

June Steenkamp said the conditions imposed by the parole board had affirmed her belief in the South African justice system as they send out a clear message that gender-based violence is taken seriously.

A lawyer for Pistorius did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his release on Friday.

Local media expect him to live at the home of his uncle Arnold Pistorius in a wealthy Pretoria suburb.

South Africans have shown mixed reactions to his release, with some feeling he has served his time, while others see his punishment as too lenient.

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“He paid his price. Let him rebuild his life,” a local resident told reporters gathered outside his uncle’s home on Friday morning.

FROM PARALYMPIC STAR TO CONVICTED MURDERER

Pistorius was once the darling of the sports world, and a pioneering voice for disabled athletes, for whom he campaigned to be allowed to compete with able-bodied participants at major sports events.

In August 2012, mere months before shooting his girlfriend, Pistorius became the first double amputee to compete at the London Olympics, where he made it to the 400 metres semi-finals.

He won two gold medals at the Paralympics.

He was first jailed for five years in October 2014 for culpable homicide by a high court. After his prosecutors appealed that ruling, the Supreme Court of Appeal found him guilty of murder in December 2015. But he only got six years when he was sentenced in July 2016, despite prosecutors arguing for a minimum sentence of 15 years.

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Then in November 2017 the Supreme Court of Appeal more than doubled his sentence to 13 years and five months, describing his earlier term as “shockingly lenient”.

Pistorius met Reeva’s father Barry Steenkamp in 2022 in a “victim-offender dialogue,” an integral part of South Africa’s restorative justice system.

Based partly on how indigenous cultures handled crime long before Europeans colonised South Africa, restorative justice aims to find closure for affected parties in a crime, instead of merely punishing perpetrators.

He was initially denied parole in March. However, the Constitutional Court subsequently ruled he had completed half of his sentence by March 21 and was eligible for parole after it was backdated to July 2016 when he was first sentenced for murder instead of November 2017.

-Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Committees set up for Gombe Inter Secondary Schools Competition

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Gara Gombe’s firm firms agreement to upgrade Gombe University’s facilities

The chairman of the Main Organizing Committee of Gombe State Inter Secondary Schools Athletic Competition, Ahmed Shuaibu Gara Gombe has set up the supporting bodies for the maiden edition of the event.

  According to a press release, the Main Organizing Committee

 met at the Conference Hall of GOFCECON Hotel to prepare grounds for the hosting of the competition.

In a communique signed by Gara Gombe seven sub -committees were constituted as follows:

1.Technical, Ceremonial, Entertainment and Training

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a) Zainab Ishaku Adamu – Ministry of Youth and sports. Chairman

b) Sani Nuhu Abdullahi – NAATO.  Member

c) Isa Dauda Zambuk – GWG.  Member

d) Prince Simon Ayuba – GWG. Secretary

2. Media and Publicity

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a) Mal Haruna Zakari — GAA. Chairman

b) Uzor Odigbo — GWG. Member

c) Abraham Fashakin- North East Times. Member

d) Yakubu Maikudi – NTA Gombe.  Secretary

3. Accreditation and Security

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a) ASP Jauro Usman – NPF.  Chairman

b) SP I Jerry Ketos Turawa- Gostec.  Member

c) ASC Ishaku Ibrahim – NCDC. Secretary 

4. Accommodation, Transportation and Logistics Committee 

a) Mal Ali Doho – Ministry of Education . Chairman

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b) Mr Adamu Tanko – NAPPS.  Member

c) Obehi Kingspin -NAPPS.  Secretary

5. Medical and Welfare

a) Mohammed Abubakar Ahmed. Ministry of Health- Chairman

b) Red Cross – Member

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c) Stephen Agboh – NAPPS. Secretary

6. General Duties

a) Ahmed Shuaibu Gara Gombe – CEO. GWG. Chairman

b) Mal Musa Garba – GAA Secretary

7. Secretariat  

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a) Ibrahim Audu – Ministry of Education. Chairman

b) Mohammed Musa Baba – Northeast Times. Member

c) Haruna Isah Kalshingi – GWG.  Secretary.

He noted that capacity training would be compulsory for all secondary schools games masters prior to the competition.

In addition to the secondary schools in Gombe State, invitation will be extended to a private and public secondary schools across the six  states of the North East zone.

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There will be free accommodation and feeding for the schools that registered for the invitational relay. The competition is  categorised to feature cadets, youths and 65  under 20 registered schools and approximately.

In all, it is approximated that 2,367 school students will be involved.

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Athletics

Gara Gombe sets up committee for Gombe Inter Schools Athletics Championship

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Former chairman of Gombe State Football Association, Ahmed Shuaibu Gara-Gombe has inaugurated the Main Organising Committee for the Gombe State Inter Secondary Schools Athletics Championship.

Last year at the primary schools edition, over a thousand pupils featured in what was the maiden edition sponsored by Ahmed Shuaibu-Gara Gombe who is also the chairman of the Gombe State Athletics Association. It was held at the Pantami Stadium.

The maiden competition had boys and girls from 47 schools in attendance. On Friday, in fulfilment of a pledge to raise the bar, the organising committee was set up  at the Gombe State University as part of private investment in sports development.

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Former 800m world champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse banned for 16 months

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France’s former 800m world champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse has received a 16-month ban from the French Anti-Doping Agency after missing three drug tests in the space of nine months. Bosse announced he was quitting athletics late last year due to recurrent injuries.

The sanction comes after the 31-year-old missed three drug tests between September 2022 and June 2023. Bosse had announced his retirement in December, seven months before the Paris 2024 Olympics. He had received notifications of breaches three times, with the period coinciding with his efforts to return to a high-level athletic performance despite grappling with a hamstring injury.

The initial breach occurred on 25 September 2022, when an anti-doping controller arrived at his residence to conduct a test within the athlete’s scheduled time slot, but Bosse was not available. He told French news outlet L’Équipe: “I was one foot in training, one foot on holiday.”

Bosse, who was eliminated at semi-final stage of the Tokyo Olympics, was enduring a thigh problem at the time. Following surgery in December 2022, Bosse embarked on a race against time with the aspiration of competing in his fourth Olympic Games in Paris.

On 1 May 2023, authorities tried to contact him again, but were unable to reach him during a time when he was with family in Nantes. “I wasn’t worried at that time because I had forgotten the previous one and so I thought I only had one. At that moment, I gave up completely.”

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Then a month later, a controller returned to his residence for another scheduled check, but the athlete was evidently absent. He was subsequently informed a few weeks later of a likely two-year suspension for failing to fulfill such obligations. 

Despite feeling dejected and shocked, Bosse attempted to defend himself by attributing the second violation to an issue with the absence of a doorbell.

“I made three mistakes, I accept. It’s true that I haven’t always been the best student when it comes to taking care of my location but, until then, it had never played any tricks on me. I know I should have been more serious but I would like to point out that I have been in the AFLD target group since 2012 and they have all my analyses.”

The 31-year-old was unable to recuperate following surgery on his right thigh last year and had been out of competition since April 2023.

Before his injury troubles he most notably secured fourth place in the 800m at the Rio Games back in 2016, and has yet to recapture the form that led to his crowning as the world champion over 800m in London in 2017. Bosse also got his hands on bronze at the European Championships in both 2012 and 2018.

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Since leaving his beloved sport behind, the Frenchman has starred in two reality TV shows in his homeland and focussed on his association combining sport and ecology which he launched with his friend and former international team-mate Bryan Cantero.

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