Agent: Pistorius Has Received "Overwhelming Support"

Van Zyl said he visited Pistorius primarily to discuss his running career

By GERALD IMRAY
|  Sunday, Feb 17, 2013  |  Updated 6:21 PM EDT
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Agent: Pistorius Has Received "Overwhelming Support"

AP

Oscar Pistorius was charged with the murder of model and reality TV show contestant Reeva Steenkamp.

Oscar Pistorius has received "overwhelming support" from his fans, his agent said Sunday, as he remained in custody in a South African police station charged with the shooting murder of his model girlfriend.

Peet van Zyl said outside the Brooklyn police station soon after visiting Pistorius that "a lot of fans" had sent their good wishes. Van Zyl said the support was "really on a global scale. South African fans, international fans from literally all over the world."

Van Zyl said he visited Pistorius primarily to discuss his running career and would not respond to a question about the mental and emotional state of the 26-year-old athlete.

Pistorius broke down and wept at his first court appearance on Friday after he was charged with the murder of model and reality TV show contestant Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot multiple times in his house in the early hours of Thursday.

"I am not going to comment on anything except that (what) is related to his athletics career at this point in time," Van Zyl told reporters outside the police station in the South African capital, Pretoria.

Van Zyl called Steenkamp's killing tragic and said he visited Pistorius as a friend as well as an agent.

"Obviously from a management side and also as a friend, it's a tragic circumstance," Van Zyl said, "and we can only give Oscar our support at this point in time."

The main point of the visit was to update the multiple Paralympic champion and Olympic athlete on his crumbling track career and the situation with his sponsors, which were now expected to step back from their association with the world's most famous disabled athlete.

Van Zyl would release a statement either later Sunday or on Monday, he said, with exact details of the races and sponsorship deals that were now affected by Pistorius' arrest and murder charge.

He told The Associated Press on Saturday that he had begun canceling races for Pistorius scheduled for 2013, including Diamond League appearances and exhibition runs against fellow Paralympic champions Alan Oliveria of Brazil and Jonnie Peacock of Britain.

Sunday was likely the first time that Pistorius was told about the cancelations.

"The nature of my visit was on a professional manner to discuss his career and the plans that we had made for this year with the IAAF (world) championships in Moscow as the main goal for this year," Van Zyl said. "We obviously just discussed the races and the contracts that had been signed and secured for this year and also to keep him up to date with regard to the sponsors."

Sportswear giant Nike and eyewear manufacturer Oakley are among Pistorius' big-name sponsors.

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