sport

Storey shock at Pistorius charge

Dame Sarah Storey, one of Britain's greatest Paralympians, has described her "total shock" at Oscar Pistorius' murder charge.

The sprinter, nicknamed the Blade Runner because of the prosthetic limbs he uses, was arrested yesterday after his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, died from gunshot wounds at his house in Pretoria, South Africa.

"I just felt disbelief," Storey told the Daily Telegraph. "That was the initial reaction, before you start to see this as a horrendous tragedy, and as you delve deeper, it makes you want to find out more.

"That's why you look at this scenario in total shock. It's like one of the those horrific made-up stories."

Pistorius, 26, is a national hero in South Africa and the world's biggest star in Paralympic sport. The sprinter won two gold medals and a silver at the London 2012 Paralympics.

He made history in London where he became the first amputee sprinter to compete not only in the Paralympics but also in the Olympic Games, running in the 400m and 4x400m relay.

"He has been the icon of Paralympic sport, the name, the most famous Paralympian from any nation," Storey, winner of 11 Paralympic gold medals, said. "If you asked anyone in the world to name a Paralympian, most people would name him, because he was an icon forging a new path, at the forefront of technology, he brought great attention from the media - a special talent on the track.

"The Paralympic world is now in shock. He was an acquaintance - but obviously he has come through so much in his life, and had incredible success as an athlete to compete at the level he has reached."

Storey's shock was echoed by Sir Philip Craven, the president of the International Paralympic Committee.

"When I heard the news it was with utter shock and disbelief, and our sympathies and condolences go out to the family of Steenkamp," he said.

"It's not just the Paralympic community which is in a state of shock. This is a story which has made global headlines about a man who has done so much for the Paralympic movement in helping to grow awareness and interest in our sports."

Pistorius is due to appear in court on a murder charge on Friday morning.