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SPORTS

Monday, February 18, 2013

TROY DAILY NEWS • WWW.TROYDAILYNEWS.COM

■ Legal

■ Golf

Future in limbo

Woods joins Obama for round of golf

Agent cancels all future races for Pistorius

AP PHOTO

In this Aug. 5, 2012 file photo, South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius starts in the men’s 400-meter semifinal during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. ization that his entire career was in ruins. Pistorius’ sponsors including big-name brands Nike and eyewear manufacturer Oakley were also sticking by him, Van Zyl said. But that could depend on the outcome of a possibly lengthy murder trial. “Regarding sponsors and partners, I can confirm that at this point in time, all parties are supportive and their contractual commitments are maintained,” Van Zyl’s In Site Athlete Management company said. “They have said they are happy to let the legal process takes its course before making any change in their position.” The Beaverton, Orebased Nike Inc. and Foothill Ranch, Calif.based Oakley Inc. did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press seeking comment. Pistorius was quickly

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arrested and charged with murder Thursday, with prosecutors saying at his first court appearance a day later that they would pursue a more serious premeditated murder charge, which carries a life sentence. Pistorius broke down and wept in the court, with his face in his hands. His family later denied he murdered Steenkamp and said the state’s own evidence “strongly refutes” any possibility of a murder. “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 after being asked how Pistorius was coping. “Obviously from a management side and also as a friend, it’s a tragic circumstance and events that have unfolded and we can only give Oscar our support at this point in time.” Family members and his lawyers also visited Pistorius on Sunday, but declined comment both when they arrived and when they left the city center police station.

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Oscar Pistorius’ track career was put on hold indefinitely Sunday because of his murder charge, reinforcing the possibility that the doubleamputee Olympian and disabled sports icon might never run again competitively on his famous carbon fiber blades. Pistorius’ agent was forced to cancel all future races, he said, so Pistorius could concentrate on defending himself against allegations he murdered his model girlfriend by shooting her several times in his upscale house on Valentine’s Day morning. Reeva Steenkamp died from gunshot wounds suffered inside Pistorius’ home in the predawn hours of Thursday. Pistorius was arrested and charged with her murder the same day. His family denies he murdered her. “I have decided that following these tragic events that we have no option but to cancel all future races that Oscar Pistorius had been contracted to compete in,” agent Peet van Zyl said in a written statement late Sunday night. A few hours earlier, Van Zyl had visited his athlete at a police station in the South African capital, Pretoria, where he is being held in custody in a redbricked, one-story building with green metal fencing. Pistorius has been there since Friday following the shocking developments at his villa in a gated community in Pretoria’s eastern suburbs where Steenkamp was shot dead. Her death and Pistorius’ arrest stunned South Africans, who revered Pistorius for his humble nature and success at overcoming adversity to become an international star, despite having his lower legs amputated as a baby. Pistorius still had “overwhelming support” from his fans, Van Zyl said as he left Brooklyn police station, but the agent steered away from a question from a reporter on what Pistorius’ emotional state was now like following the death of his girlfriend and a possible real-

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The family of Steenkamp, a model, law graduate and budding reality TV star, told The Associated Press that her body had been released by police after an autopsy and was back in their hometown of Port Elizabeth on South Africa’s southern coast. “Reeva is back home,” the late model’s brother, Adam Steenkamp, told the AP by phone. He had flown back from Britain, where he now lives, to be with the family. They also said Steenkamp’s funeral would be held Tuesday and would be a private ceremony for family at a local crematorium. Media would not be allowed in. The main purpose for Van Zyl’s visit to Brooklyn police station Sunday afternoon was to discuss Pistorius’ running career, but “also to visit him as a friend and give him my moral support,” the agent said. “On a personal level I wanted to offer my support to Oscar, who I have known and worked with for the last seven years and consider a friend and a great professional athlete.” Following the meeting, Van Zyl announced publicly that the five races that Pistorius had confirmed for in 2013 were canceled: two in Australia in March, exhibition races against fellow Paralympic champions Alan Oliveira of Brazil and Jonnie Peacock of Britain, and an appearance at the U.S. Drake Relays in Iowa. Van Zyl’s decision to cancel those races was first reported by the AP on Saturday. All others that were still in negotiation were also now called off, Van Zyl said on Sunday.

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PALM CITY, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama played golf Sunday with Tiger Woods, the White House said Sunday. Once the sport’s dominant player before his career was sidetracked by scandal, Woods joined Obama at the Floridian, a secluded and exclusive yacht and golf club on Florida’s Treasure Coast where Obama is spending the long Presidents Day weekend. The two had met before, but Sunday was the first time they played together. The White House has prohibited media coverage of Obama’s weekend golf outing. The foursome also included Jim Crane, a Houston businessman who owns the Floridian and baseball’s Houston Astros, and outgoing U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, a former mayor of Dallas, said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. Crane and Kirk also were part of Obama’s foursome on Saturday, the White House said. Obama, an avid golfer, also received some instruction Saturday and played a few holes with Butch Harmon, Woods’ former swing coach. Golf Digest reported that Obama spent eight hours with Harmon, during which he played 27 holes and hit balls in Harmon’s studio, and then managed to coordinate Sunday’s round with Woods. The report said the original plan called for Obama and Woods to play at Woods’

home club The Medalist Golf Club, a half-hour away in Hobe Sound but they eventually opted for the Floridian. Woods departed after the first 18 holes, but Obama stayed on to play another nine, the report said. “Just to see the interaction between the two on the range was pretty neat,” Harmon told Golf Digest. “The President said to Tiger: ‘The last tournament you played was fun to watch. It’s good to see you play well again.’ You could tell he meant it. It just wasn’t a throw it out compliment.” It seems Obama and Woods the first black men at the top of their respective fields have spent the past few years inching toward Sunday’s meeting on the fairway. The two met in January 2009, during Obama’s inauguration in Washington. Four months later, in April, Woods visited the White House and Obama welcomed him into the Oval Office. Woods’ personal life imploded later in 2009 after revelations that he had engaged in multiple extramarital affairs, leading to divorce. He followed with a public apology and announced he was taking an indefinite break from golf. Shortly after Woods announced he was coming out of seclusion, Obama said in an interview with Fox News Channel that Woods will still be a “terrific” golfer despite his personal issues.

■ Tennis

Nadal wins 1st title since injury SAO PAULO (AP) — The last time Rafael Nadal won in Brazil, it was at the very start of the most dominant claycourt career tennis has ever seen. Eight years later, Nadal hopes his second title here will mark the restart. Nadal beat David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the Brazil Open on Sunday, his first trophy since returning from a seven-month layoff to treat his left knee. While this indoor claycourt tournament is much more low-priofile than those he has grown used to winning, Nadal thrust his arms into the air and pumped his fist after Nalbandian sent a shot long to give the Spaniard his 51st singles title. His second also came in this event in 2005, when he was still relatively unknown, and he went on to win the first of his seven French Open titles months later. “Brazil will always be in my heart,” Nadal said. “Big things started to happen after I won here in 2005 and hopefully this is the start of some-

thing good again.” Nadal needed the lengthy layoff to treat a partially torn and inflamed tendon in his knee, and his comeback was then further postponed by an illness. He returned to play in Chile last week, losing in the final of both the singles and doubles tournaments. So lifting a trophy again felt extra good this time. “I’ll definitely enjoy this one because of all the problems that I’ve gone through with the knee,” Nadal said. “When I won for the first time here I was just starting and hopefully this will mark a new beginning.” It was Nadal’s first title since winning the French Open for the seventh time last June. Thirty-seven of his titles have been on clay. Nadal struggled to find a rhythm in the beginning but was still able to break Nalbandian’s serve twice to take the first set, then rallied from 3-0 down in the second to win six straight games and close out the match in 1 hour, 18 minutes.

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02/18/13  

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