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Pistorius said he shot girlfriend to death by mistake

Updated: 2013-02-20 11:01
( Agencies)

Sponsors ditch Pistorius

The arrest of Pistorius stunned the millions who had watched in awe last year as the Olympic and Paralympic sprinter reached the semifinal of the 400 meters in the London Olympics, running on high-technology carbon fibre 'blades'.

Pistorius said he shot girlfriend to death by mistake

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius starts his men's 400m round 1 heats at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in this Aug 4, 2012 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

But the impact has been greatest in sports-mad South Africa, where Pistorius was seen as a rare hero who had transcended the racial divides that persist 19 years after the end of apartheid.

He carried South Africa's flag at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics, and US magazine Sports Illustrated named him as one of the most inspiring figures of the year.

"Many questions are being asked, but we have no answers," Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said in a statement.

The sprinter's endorsements and sponsorships included sportswear giant Nike, British telecoms firm BT, sunglasses maker Oakley and French designer Thierry Mugler and were thought to be worth as much as $2 million a year.

In his affidavit, Pistorius said he earned 5.6 million rand ($630,500) a year and owned properties worth nearly $1 million.

However, Nike and Mugler both said they had dropped Pistorius from advertising campaigns, while cosmetics firm Clarins said it was recalling its 'A Man' perfume range out "respect and compassion towards the families involved".

Other sponsors have said they will make no decisions until the legal process has run its course.

Born without a fibula in either leg, Pistorius had his lower legs amputated as an 11-month-old baby but became the highest-profile athlete in the history of the Paralympic Games.

After the hour-long private ceremony in the cream-colored hill-top church in Port Elizabeth, Steenkamp's brother Adam and uncle Mike, fighting back tears, spoke briefly to reporters.

"There's a space missing inside all the people that she knew that can't be filled again," Adam Steenkamp said. "We are going to keep all the positive things that we remember and know about my sister. We will miss her."

($1 = 8.8816 South African rand)

Related stories:

Pistorius shot girlfriend through door - prosecutor

Pistorius cancels all race plans to face charges

Bloodied bat found at home of Olympian Pistorius

Woman found dead at Pistorius home - S.Africa police

'Blade Runner' back in court for bail hearing

'Blade Runner' on murder charge


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