South Africa

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Oscar Pistorius bruised in prison fight

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Olympian Oscar Pistorius, in jail for murdering his girlfriend, was bruised in an altercation with another inmate over telephone use, a South African prison spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

Pistorius sustained a minor injury in an alleged assault at the Attridgevill Correctional Centre last week, Singabakho Nxumalo of the Department of Correctional Services told The Associated Press.

Pistorius had a medical checkup and was found to have a bruise, said Nxumalo, who added that the incident is being investigated.

“The injury is minor, but we at the department take incidents like this seriously and want to prevent any altercations,” said Nxumalo.

The disagreement broke out between Pistorius and another inmate over use of a public telephone, he said.

Pistorius, a double amputee runner who won worldwide acclaim winning in the Paralympics and competing in the Olympics, is serving a 13-year sentence for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius shot her dead in his home on Valentine’s Day 2013 and claimed he thought she was an intruder.

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Wayde van Niekerk among athlete of the year finalists; no Caster Semenya

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Mo Farah, Wayde van Niekerk and Mutaz Barshim have been nominated for the IAAF world athlete of the year award.

The women’s nominees were Ethiopian distance runner Almaz Ayana (10,000m gold, 5000m silver at worlds), Greek pole vault world champion Ekaterini Stefanidi and heptathlon world champion Nafi Thiam of Belgium.

Farah won 10,000m gold and 5000m silver at worlds in London. Van Niekerk also took gold and silver, in the 400m and 200m respectively. Barshim went undefeated in 2017, including his first world outdoor title in the high jump.

Noticeably absent from the finalists was South African Caster Semenya, who took 800m gold and 1500m bronze at worlds. Semenya, scrutinized since her 2009 gender-testing controversy, is undefeated at 800m for more than two years and twice lowered her national record in 2017.

Also missing the cut was Polish hammer throw world-record holder Anita Włodarczyk, who is undefeated since June 2014 and had the second-best throw of all time this year. And Russian high jumper Maria Lasitskene, who won all 24 of her indoor and outdoor meets in 2017 and had the six highest clearances in the world for the year.

Usain Bolt and Ayana won the awards last year.

The IAAF says the finalists were determined by a “three-way voting process.” Half of the votes came from the IAAF Council, 25 percent from the IAAF member federations and committee members, and the remaining portion from a public vote conducted by social media.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Wayde van Niekerk out 6 months after rugby injury

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Wayde van Niekerk, the Olympic and world 400m champion and world-record holder, is expected to be sidelined until at least April with a torn meniscus and ACL suffered in a celebrity tag rugby match on Oct. 7.

“His coach wasn’t happy about that [it happening at a tag rugby match],” Van Niekerk’s agent said Tuesday. Van Niekerk is famously coached by Ans Botha, a great-grandmother.

Van Niekerk is undergoing surgery Tuesday after getting married this past weekend.

He is out through at least the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, in early April.

The Commonwealth Games are the biggest meet for many countries next year, including Van Niekerk’s South Africa.

Van Niekerk, after taking gold and silver in the 400m and 200m at words in August, spoke of potentially trying the 100m-200m double at Commonwealths.

“I was looking forward to competing in the 100m and 200m events in Gold Coast, and participating at the national championships in March, so this is unfortunate timing,” Van Niekerk said in a statement Tuesday. “But this is sport and these things happen. I trust that the team I have around me, including the medical professionals, will make this process as smooth as possible.

“I have faith that‚ God willing‚ I’ll be able to race again later next year.

“Full recovery is going to be crucial‚ so I’ll be patient‚ but I will work as hard as I can to get back on the track as soon as possible.”

The U.S. is not part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Instead, the notable countries competing at the Games are Australia, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa and the nations that make up Great Britain at the Olympics, led by England.

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