Oscar Pistorius’ jail sentence to be appealed by prosecutors

Oscar Pistorius
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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The South African prosecutors’ office said Thursday it will appeal against Oscar Pistorius‘ six-year jail sentence and seek a longer prison term for the double-amputee athlete, who was convicted of murder for shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Calling the sentence given to Pistorius by a judge on July 6 “shockingly too lenient,” the National Prosecuting Authority announced it would file appeal papers on Thursday — the day of the deadline to appeal.

Pistorius was convicted of murder for shooting Steenkamp in his home in 2013, but only after an appeal by prosecutors. He was initially acquitted of the charge and found guilty of the lesser offense of manslaughter, and served one year in prison.

The latest decision to appeal by prosecutors prolongs the three-and-a-half legal case of Pistorius, a multiple Paralympic world champion and the first amputee athlete to run at the Olympics.

He shot Steenkamp multiple times through a toilet cubicle door in his home in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day 2013. Pistorius testified that he killed Steenkamp by mistake, thinking she was an intruder hiding in the bathroom. Prosecutors said he shot her intentionally after an argument.

“We respectfully submit that the sentence of six years imprisonment, in all the circumstances, is disproportionate to the crime of murder committed,” the prosecuting authority said in Thursday’s statement announcing its intention to appeal. “That is to say, shockingly too lenient, and has accordingly resulted in an injustice and has the potential to bring the administration of justice into disrepute.”

Prosecutors had sought 15 years in prison for the double-amputee Olympic athlete, the prescribed minimum sentence for murder in South Africa, but a judge said there were compelling circumstances in Pistorius’ case to give him a lesser sentence.

In South Africa, a judge can deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence if they find that there are exceptional circumstances.

Judge Thokozile Masipa decided on the six-year jail sentence for the 29-year-old Pistorius. She was also the judge who oversaw Pistorius’ 2014 trial and acquitted him of murder before that decision was successfully appealed by prosecutors in the Supreme Court.

In appealing the six-year sentence, prosecutors first have to get permission from Masipa to take another appeal to the Supreme Court. No date was given for the first hearing in the appeal.

Pistorius is currently serving his sentence in a prison in the South African capital, Pretoria. Under South African law, he could be eligible for parole after serving half his sentence, or three years.

MORE: Pistorius timeline since London Olympics

South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun
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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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