Thursday October 23rd, 2014

South Africa's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula says he believes Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius has reached the the end of "his journey” after he was sentenced this week for killing his girlfriend.

A South African judge sentenced Pistorius to five years in prison for the Feb. 14, 2013 shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp. He will be required to serve at least 10 months of his sentence before he can ask for parole.

Pistorius, 27, was also given three years in prison for unlawfully firing a gun in a restaurant. That sentence is suspended for five years, on the condition that he is not convicted of a gun-related offense in that time period.

The International Paralympic Committee also banned Pistorius from competing during his five-year prison sentence, even if he is released after 10 months.

Mbalula said Pistorius’ sentencing “has been a very sad moment for us in sport, in the sense that he was the epitome of wisdom, skill and triumph over adversity.”

“For me, (Pistorius’s conviction and sentence) was the end of the road of his journey,” Mbalula said to the Cape Argus newspaper. “It is unfortunate that it had to end in this manner, but the courts have spoken and we will respect their decision.”

Mbalula said that South Africa’s presence in the track and field world was beginning to spread because of Pistorius. Pistorius was the first disabled athlete to compete in the Olympic Games, qualifying for the men’s 400 meter semi-final in the 2012 London games.

“In the world of athletics, Oscar was number two, second only to Usain Bolt, in terms of popularity. I do not think Oscar will be able to come back in terms of athletics,” Mbalula said. "Pistorius must pay his dues to the nation and face correctional responsibilities.”

When asked if he saw a future for Pistorius competing again for South Africa, Mbalula said, “We will cross that road when we get there.”

- Scooby Axson

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