Tag Archives: paralympics

Pistorius ready to begin training as murder suspect visits Pretoria training base

Pistorius ready to begin training as murder suspect visits Pretoria training base

By
Associated Press

PUBLISHED:

17:56 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:14 GMT, 4 April 2013

Oscar Pistorius wants to train again and recently went back to visit his regular track in South Africa’s capital.

There was still no decision on an exact time-frame for the multiple Paralympic champion’s return to regular running, but Pistorius told his agent Peet van Zyl and coach Ampie Louw at a Tuesday meeting that he was 'definitely keen to get back on track to resume training,' the agent said.

'When, exactly, is his choice,' Van Zyl told AP on Wednesday.

Granted: Oscar Pistorius was freed on bail after being charged with the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Granted: Oscar Pistorius was freed on bail after being charged with the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Pistorius had also revisited his practice track in Pretoria on March 24, although he didn’t train, the agent said.

Pistorius last trained on a track over two months ago, and his last competitive race was his victory in the 400m final at the London Paralympics in September last year.

Van Zyl said Pistorius wasn’t ready 'mentally' to compete yet after he was charged with murder in the February 14 shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home.

'From our meeting, it was clear and evident it’s going to take some time for him (to be ready to compete),” Van Zyl said. 'He’s trying to process this whole ordeal.'

Pistorius had also told his agent and coach that he would only consider running at the world championships in Moscow in August if he was in the right shape to run at the top level again.

'He (Pistorius) stated to me clearly yesterday, for the world champs, first he needs to be in some form,' Van Zyl said.

Back on track: Pistorius is keen to make a return to training, according to his agent

Back on track: Pistorius is keen to make a return to training, according to his agent

Still, Pistorius’ first significant move toward a return to the track on his carbon fiber running blades came at the meeting with his management team at the home of his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, on Tuesday night.

The 26-year-old Olympian has been staying at the house in the eastern suburbs of Pretoria since he was granted bail on February 22.

Victim: Steenkamp was shot dead in Pistorius' Pretoria apartment

Victim: Steenkamp was shot dead in Pistorius' Pretoria apartment

Pistorius denies murdering Steenkamp and says he shot her accidentally after mistaking her for an intruder in his house.

Prosecutors have charged him with pre-meditated murder and say he intentionally shot Steenkamp multiple times after the couple argued in the early hours of Valentine’s Day.

His next court appearance is on June 4.

Pistorius had visited his training track at the University of Pretoria with some other athletes, but hadn’t worked out properly, only doing a little jogging, Van Zyl said.

Although a high court ruling last week eased Pistorius’ bail restrictions on appeal and allowed him to travel to compete, Van Zyl said it would still take time to be ready for track meets.

'He hasn’t trained at all since the incident and you can’t expect him to go into competition. More important, mentally he is not there yet, he is some way off,' the agent said.

Long-time coach Louw, who discovered the double amputee’s talent for running when he was still a teenager, was eager, however, for the athlete to get back to training to help his mental process.

'Ampie was quite keen for him to start training as soon as possible so Oscar can get into some kind of routine,' Van Zyl said.

Exclusive: As UK Sport"s record 355m investment in British athletes begins, Sportsmail speaks to those who have already seen gold from the…

EXCLUSIVE: As UK Sport's record 355m investment in British athletes begins, Sportsmail speaks to those who have already seen gold from the funding boost

, in which Great Britain won 65 Olympic medals and 120 at the Paralympics and finished third in the medals table in both events, but British sport has aimed high since National Lottery funding was introduced in 1997. It is hard to believe Britain won just one gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Joy: The Olympic Parade which celebrated all the British success during the Olympics and Paralympics

Joy: The Olympic Parade which celebrated all the British success during the Olympics and Paralympics

Glory boys: Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent were the only GB gold medalists in Atlanta

Glory boys: Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent were the only GB gold medalists in Atlanta

Here, some of the athletes who have benefited from UK Sport funding tell Sportsmail exactly what it has meant to them…

Sir Ben Ainslie, 36
Four-time Olympic gold medallist, sailing

‘Trying to become the first nation to better our performance after a home Olympics is a fantastic goal. For me, it shows just how far British sport has come.

‘I’m not thinking about Rio right now because I’m in San Francisco with my America’s Cup team but you never know – it’s still a few years away.

History: Ben Ainslie won a record fourth sailing gold medal after a titanic battle in London

History: Ben Ainslie won a record fourth sailing gold medal after a titanic battle in London

'I’m happy with the decisions I’ve made in my career so far and I’ll definitely be in Brazil in some capacity, even if I’m not racing.

Sir: Ainslee was knighted for his heroics

Sir: Ainslee was knighted for his heroics

‘I started receiving funding in 1997. I went to my first Olympics in 1996 and won a silver medal, but we didn’t do very well as a team. We won just one gold medal – in rowing, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent in the men’s coxless pair. It was a pretty poor performance overall.

‘Then UK Sport funding came in and I think, straight away, you could see a big change in the way we were able to train. We enjoyed a big jump up the medal table in Sydney (from 36th to 10th) and that continued all the way to London.

‘British sport became more
professional, but the rest of the world upped their game as well. When I
started travelling to compete internationally most people were sleeping
in tents or in the back of their cars and trying to hold down jobs as
well as training.

'There
were very few full-time athletes. I think that’ s been the biggest
change: we have always had the passion but we simply didn’t have the
time to train and recover properly.

‘I
was lucky because I was still studying, but I relied on my parents an
awful lot. I’m sure they were very relieved when funding came on, as a
lot of parents must have been.

‘The
medical support has been unbelievable. I had a back injury six months
before London and it really was a difficult time. I had to have surgery
and a lot of physio but the support I received was phenomenal. It made a
huge difference to me and my chances of winning that gold medal.

‘Could I have achieved what I did without funding It’s a difficult one. I was fortunate in that I had success early on and was able to attract commercial sponsors, but I couldn’t have done it without the coaching and medical support there in the background.

'It was about setting up a long-term strategy to win medals and they certainly got the right people and the right strategy to do that.’

Perri Shakes-Drayton, 24. Double European indoor champion, athletics

‘It meant a lot to win two gold medals at the European Indoor Championships (in the 400m and 4 x 400m relay) in Gothenburg. You train to win medals and to be a champion was even better.

'The training that I’ve done and any doubts I may have had have gone away. I can do it and I want more. It gave me that confidence that I am as good as the rest of the girls and I want to maintain it.

Champion: Perri Shakes-Drayton won gold in the Women's 400m at the European Indoor Athletics

Champion: Perri Shakes-Drayton won gold in the Women's 400m at the European Indoor Athletics

‘It meant a lot after the Olympics. I finished on a high and I kept running close to my personal best but it was a disappointment (failing to make the final of the 400m hurdles). But rewards will come. The European titles have put the Games behind me. It’s a good feeling.

‘The 400 metres isn’t my event and hopefully I can transfer that speeds to the hurdles now. I enjoy them – there is a lot more to think about, but I haven’t achieved what I want to do yet over the hurdles.

'I’m not saying “bye” to them yet. Hurdling comes naturally now. I see a hurdle and I know how to attack it.

‘I want to come home with a medal from the World Championships in Moscow in August. I want one and I have to win one. That’s my aim.

Pedigree: The British quarter cruised to victory in the Women 4 x 400m relay

Pedigree: The British quarter cruised to victory in the Women 4 x 400m relay

‘Chris Zah has been my only coach, for the past 11 years. He took me from the grass roots to the world-class athlete I am today. It’s not really common for that to happen, but we’ve grown as a team and learnt together.

‘We’ll stay in Mile End, not move to Loughborough. We’ll stay in that gritty, crusty gym in east London because it’s working for us. It’s a good set up and I’ m not going anywhere for the moment.

‘National Lottery funding just makes life so much easier for me. The money I receive in support helps with training camps – I’m going to Daytona in Florida for a month on April 2.

I don’t take it for granted because it makes life so much more stress-free. All I have to do is worry about getting to training on time and being the athlete that I have to be to achieve my goals.’

Becky James, 21. Double world champion, track cycling.

‘I couldn’t have made my career without Lottery funding, I’ve had it since I was 15 and it’s been a huge support for me. Without it, I couldn’t make a career out of cycling because women get paid differently to men if, say, I was on a road team.

'It gives you such a lift when you first get on the programme and you become part of British Cycling, too. It’s been a great help.

‘I’m sure I wouldn’t be a double World Champion if I had a part-time job. I worked until I left home – I used to work in a kitchen doing all the food prep and washing up, which wasn’t the most glamorous job. Then I did a bit of waitressing and then I worked in a cake shop for two years in Abergavenny – serving coffee and cakes. It probably wasn’t the most productive thing to do for my sport, but it was fun.’

Double: Becky James won two gold medals at the World Cycling Championships in Scotland

Double: Becky James won two gold medals at the World Cycling Championships in Scotland

Funding: UK Sport have been a key part of James' immediate success

Funding: UK Sport have been a key part of James' immediate success

Quillan Isidore, 16, joined UK Sport’s World Class Performance Programme as a Development athlete in November 2012 after winning the Boys Under-16 category at the UCI BMX World Championships in Birmingham last May.

Winner: James with her gold medal in the individual sprint

Winner: James with her gold medal in the individual sprint

‘I always looked up to people in the GB team and wished I could be one of them. It was a dream when I made it onto the Olympic development programme for BMX because there are only five of us: four boys and one girl. It’s really good when we all go away for training – that’s what I want to live my life like but I’m still at school so I have to be patient. But I’m proud to represent the British team and follow in the steps of people like Sir Chris Hoy.

‘I still live at home in south London so I get a set programme to follow from my coach. I’m very dedicated – I never miss training at all. We’re not the richest family so I’m really thankful for the support.

‘You can get pretty bad injuries in
this sport so it’s good to know the back-up is there, too. I’ve been
very lucky so far, but it’s impossible to be injury-free.

'I’m
aiming for the 2020 Olympics but I’ve got 2016 in the back of my mind. I
believe that if I work really hard it can be done. We’re all working
really hard to get up the rankings and try to get GB three spots in Rio.

‘I
do think BMX is becoming more of a recognised sport. I got into it
because my friend just took me to a track in Brixton one day when I was
eight. It only had about five jumps but I just loved the feeling of
getting my front wheel off the ground. I got my first bike for my eighth
birthday and have been hooked ever since.’

UK
Sport, funded by The National Lottery, is supporting Britain’s best
athletes on the #RoadtoRio. Follow their progress @uk_sport

Oscar Pistorius charged with murder: Reeva Steenkamp dead

Blade Runner Pistorius charged with murder after girlfriend is found shot dead at his home in South Africa

Pistorius in custodySprinter believed to have told police he thought girlfriend was an intruderDead woman is former FHM model Reeva SteenkampShe was shot several times in the head, chest and the armMedia reporting it could have been a Valentine's Day surprise gone wrongIncident happened on his Pretoria farm, north-east of Johannesburg at 3am

Olympic and Paralympic Games” class=”blkBorder” />

Star attraction: Pistorius competed at both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Star attraction: Pistorius competed at both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
When Sportsmail met the Blade Runner:

This is an extract from an interview in August 2011 with Pistorius at his home, a year before Olympics.

Sportsmail's Jonathan McEvoy: 'This being South Africa, one baseball bat and one cricket bat lie behind Pistorius's bedroom door. A revolver is at his bedside. A machine gun by his window.'

It was reported that his girlfriend, former FHM model Miss Steenkamp, 30, was trying to surprise him for Valentine's Day and he thought she was an intruder.

He is expected to appear in Pretoria
Magistrates’ Court later on Thursday.

Police revealed that a 9mm pistol was
recovered from the scene and that 26-year-old Pistorius had been taken into custody. The
woman was apparently shot four times.

Police spent the morning investigating the scene and taking statements are being taken from neighbours.

Paramedics were called to the house
after the shooting and attempted to resuscitate the woman before
declaring her dead at the scene.

Access all areas: Sportsmail were allowed into Pretorius' Pretoria home last year

Access all areas: Sportsmail were allowed into Pretorius' Pretoria home last year

Access all areas: Sportsmail were allowed into Pretorius' Pretoria home last year

Access all areas: Sportsmail were allowed into Pretorius' Pretoria home last year
Pistorius' medal haul:

Paralympics

2004 Athens – Bronze 100 m (T44) Gold 200 m (T44)
2008 Beijing – Gold 100 m (T44) Gold 200 m (T44) Gold 400 m (T44)
2012 London – Silver 200 m (T44) Gold 400 m (T44) Gold 4 100 m relay (T42–T46)

World Championships

Daegu 2011 – Silver 4 400 m relay

Police spokeswoman Katlego Mogale said: 'I can confirm that a woman has been fatally wounded in a shooting at Oscar Pistorius' house.

'A 26-year-old man has been taken into custody.

'The incident happened at
3am. We received a call and attended the scene. The call did not come
from the man in custody but from another person.

'Currently there is an inquiry into what happened.'

A police spokesman added: ‘We can't
comment on his emotional well-being, but he is traumatised after losing
someone close to him.’

Sarit Tomlinson, Steenkamp’s
publicist, told Sky News: ‘She was the sweetest human being and an
absolute angel on earth. She was the kindest, most unbelievable girl.

Flying the flag: Pistorius leads out his fellow South Africans at the Paralympics

Flying the flag: Pistorius leads out his fellow South Africans at the Paralympics

Flying the flag: Pistorius leads out his fellow South Africans at the Paralympics

This tragedy has happened before:

A former South African rugby player was charged with murder in 2004 after he mistook his daughter for a car thief and shot her dead in the family’s driveway.

Rudi Visagie thought his 19-year-old daughter Marle was asleep when he heard her Volkswagen Golf being driven away in Maggiesdal, in the Mpumalanga province.

He got out of bed, took his 7.65mm pistol, and fired a shot through the bedroom window.

When he went outside he found his daughter slumped behind the wheel. She was declared dead upon arrival at hospital an hour later.

She had been on her way to surprise her boyfriend on his birthday.

‘They had been together for a couple
of months and it had been a healthy, fabulous relationship. At the
moment it’s shocking. No-one knows what’s happened.

‘She was a rising star. There was so much in the pipeline for her: she was just about to explode into the media.

‘She was a very talented, very bright young girl. It’s too shocking for words. We’ll miss her so much, too much. Our condolences go to her family.’

Steenkamp tweeted just hours before her death: 'What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow #getexcited #ValentinesDay'

Pistorius recently took a New York Times
reporter to a shooting range with a 9mm handgun. The article which
followed reads: 'Pistorius was a good coach. A couple of my shots got
close to the bull’s-eye, which delighted him. “Maybe you should do this
more,” he said. “If you practiced, I think you could be pretty deadly.” I
asked him how often he came to the range. “Just sometimes when I can’t
sleep,” he said.'

Peet van Zyl, Pistorius' manager who assisted at the scene on Thursday morning, said he would not comment.

Tragedy: The woman found dead is believed to be Reeva Steenkamp (left)

Tragedy: The woman found dead is believed to be Reeva Steenkamp (left)

'I can only confirm there was an incident and a woman was killed,' Van Zyl told Beeld. 'I do not want to speculate about what happened.'

Arnu
Fourie, Pistorius' room-mate during last year's Paralympics, said shortly
after he heard the news, 'my heart is broken for Oscar'.

Fourie said after he practised on
Thursday morning in Stellenbosch that he had dozens of messages on his
phone about the incident.

'I feel for Oscar and the girl's family, I pray for him and her family, I can not imagine how they feel,' Fourie added.

Investigation: A forensics van drives away from the estate where Pistorius lives

Investigation: A forensics van drives away from the estate where Pistorius lives

'Poor Oscar in his life had so many disappointments and tough times. Now. My heart is broken.'

The International Paralympic Committee expressed sorrow on hearing of the incident.

In a statement, it said: 'Following the
news of the alleged shooting incident involving South African athlete
Oscar Pistorius this morning, the International Paralympic Committee
(IPC) will not be passing any comment on the case at this time.

'This is a police matter, with a
formal investigation currently underway. Therefore it would be
inappropriate for the IPC to comment on this incident until the official
police process has concluded.

Poster boy: Pistorius was billed as one of the heroes of London 2012

Poster boy: Pistorius was billed as one of the heroes of London 2012

'The IPC would like to offer its deepest sympathy and condolences to all families involved in this case.'

Gideon Sam, president of the South
African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), said he did
not want to say anything until he did not have more details.

'SASCOC, like the rest of the public,
knows no more than what is in the public domain, which is there has
been an alleged fatal shooting on the basis of a mistaken identity and
an apparent assumption of a burglary,' a statement read.

Pistorius' tattoos:

Body art: Pistorius shows off one of his tattoos - a bible passage

Oscar Pistorius has two tattoos – each with a deep personal significance.

On the inside of his right arm, he has his mother's date of birth and date of death tattooed.

His mother Sheila died 10 years ago, at the age of 42, from an allergic reaction to her medication and Pistorius credits her as being a major influence in his life.

When his mother made the decision to
amputate his legs at 11 months, she wrote him a letter which read: 'The
real loser is never the person who crosses the finishing line last. The
real loser is the person who sits on the side. The person who does not
even try to compete.'

On his left shoulder (right), he a version of
the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, which begins: 'I do not run like a
man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. I
execute each strike with intent. I beat my body and make it my
slave…'

Behind the scenes: Pistorius plays with his dogs and his guitar at his home last year

Behind the scenes: Pistorius plays with his dogs and his guitar at his home last year

Behind the scenes: Pistorius plays with his dogs and his guitar at his home last year
The reaction on Twitter:

Adam Gemili, British sprinter: 'Terrible news to wake up to about Oscar Pistorius! Thoughts are with him!'

Michael Rimmer, British Olympic 800m runner: '#PrayersForoscar'

Jessica Ennis, British Olympic gold medallist: 'Woken up to the horrendous news about Oscar Pistorius mistakenly shooting his girlfriend. What an awful tragedy.'

Phillips Idowu, British triple jumper: 'Waking up to extremely sad news about Oscar Pistorius mistakenly shooting his girlfriend. Terrible tragedy, thoughts & prayers with you.'

Sarah Storey, British Paralympian: 'Such sad news that Oscar mistook his girlfriend for an intruder :('

Michael Owen, ex-England footballer: ' My word, if these reports on @SkyNewsBreak are true, this story regarding Oscar Pistorius accidentally killing his girlfriend is horrific.'

Iwan Thomas, former British 400m runner: 'I am in total shock to hear the news about athlete and friend Oscar, my thoughts are with him and all involved. That's all I have to say'

Gurthro Steenkamp, South African rugby player: 'My condolences and prayer go out to the family and friends of #ReevaSteenkamp and #Oscar ! #shocked'

Marlon Devonish, former British sprinter: 'Terrible and tragic news about
@OscarPistorius my heart goes out to all involved.'

Danny Cipriani, England rugby player: 'It's shocking to read the Oscar Pistorius
story as an Englishman, shows the level of worry and crime in SA.'

'The
organisation is in no position to comment on the incident other than to
say our deepest sympathy and condolences have been expressed to the
families of all concerned.'

Pistorius,
nicknamed the Blade Runner, made history at the London Olympics last
year when he became the first double-amputee runner to compete on the
track at the Games and is one of South Africa's most famous sportsmen and a national hero.

Having had both his legs amputated
below the knee when he was less than a year old, he campaigned for years
to be allowed to compete against able-bodied athletes and finally was
cleared by sport's highest court to be able to run at the top events.

He competed in the 400 metres and on
South Africa's 4×400 relay team at the London Games and also retained
his Paralympic title in the 400 metres in London.

South Africa has some of the world's
highest rates of violent crime and some home-owners carry weapons to
defend themselves against intruders.

Great Britain’s 400m runner Martyn Rooney had been living and training with Pistorius in Gauteng until only three days ago.

Pistorius was scheduled to run two races in Australia next month – the Sydney Track Classic on Saturday, March 9 and the Go for 2&5 Perth Track Classic on Saturday, March 16.

On January 19 he took part in the Africa Cup of Nations opening ceremony, carrying a South African flag onto the field in his capacity as ‘the ambassador of peace for the African Union’.

On February 7 he presented the Deloitte Outstanding Contribution to South Africa Sport trophy to AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Jacques Rudolph and Faf Du Plessis who collected the award on behalf of the South African cricket team. Pistorius won the award last year.

VIDEO: Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend shot dead in South Africa

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No fear: Pistorius poses for Sportsmail's Andy Hooper last year

No fear: Pistorius poses for Sportsmail's Andy Hooper last year

OSCAR PISTORIUS FACT FILE

1986: Born November 22, in Pretoria, South Africa, without the fibula in both legs.
1987: October – aged 11 months, his
parents make the decision to have his legs amputated below the knee.
Despite this he played rugby, water polo and tennis as a schoolboy.
2004: January – After shattering his
right knee playing rugby he reverts to athletics at the age of 17. Runs
the 100 metres at an open competition at the Pilditch Stadium in
Pretoria. Despite only training for two months, he sets a new world
record of 11.51sec.
September: Wins gold in the 200m at
the Paralympic Games in Athens, setting a new world record of 21.97sec,
and bronze in the 100m.
2005: March – Competes in the open/able-bodied category at the South African Open Championships, finishing sixth in the 400m.
May 15 – Wins the 100m and 200m at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, both in world record times.
2006: September – Wins three golds in the 100m, 200m and 400m at the IPC World Championships in Holland.
2007: April – Breaks his own 100m and
200m world records at the Nedbank Championships for the Physically
Disabled, winning gold in both events.
December 9 – Awarded the BBC Sports
Personality of the Year Helen Rollason award, for outstanding courage
and achievement in the face of adversity.
2008: January – Athletics' world
governing body the IAAF rules that Pistorius' prosthetic legs are
ineligible for use in competitions conducted under its rules, including
the Olympic Games.
February – Appeals against the IAAF's decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
May – Makes Time magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
May 16 – Court of Arbitration for Sport reverses the IAAF's ban, allowing Pistorius to try to qualify for the Olympics.
July 16 – Pistorius fails in his final
attempt to achieve the able-bodied Olympic qualifying time for the 400m,
despite running a personal best of 46.25sec.
September – Competes at the Paralympic
Games in Beijing, winning the 100m, 200m (in a Paralympic record time)
and the 400m (in a world record time).
2011: July 19 – Sets personal best in 400m of 45.07sec, meeting the World Championship and Olympic Games qualification mark.
August – Included in the South Africa
team for the World Championships in Daegu. Qualifies for the semi-finals
of the 400m.
Runs the opening leg of a semi-final
4x400m relay as South Africa set a national record, but not selected for
the final where his country win silver.
2012: July 4 – Named in the South African Olympic team for the 400m and the 4x400m relay.
August 4 – Becomes the first amputee
runner at the Olympics when he finishes second in a 400m heat. He was
eliminated at the semi-final stage.
August 9 – Part of the South Africa
team which finishes eighth in the 4x400m final. Pistorius is chosen to
carry his country's flag at the closing ceremony.
August 29 – Carries the flag at the Paralympics closing ceremony.
September 2 – Finishes second in the
final of the 200m T44 classification, squandering a lengthy lead to Alan
Oliveira. After the race, Pistorius raises issue with the length of his
Brazilian rival's blades, causing a huge media storm. Later apologises.
September 8 – Secures gold in the 400m at the Paralympic Games.
2013: February 14 – A 30-year-old woman
is shot and killed at Pistorius' home in Pretoria. Police question a
26-year-old man, reported locally to be Pistorius, over the shooting.

Oscar Pistorius girlfriend dead

Pistorius being questioned by police after girlfriend found shot dead at his home in South Africa

Olympic and Paralympic Games” class=”blkBorder” />

Star attraction: Pistorius competed at both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Star attraction: Pistorius competed at both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
When Sportsmail met the Blade Runner:

This is from an interview in August 2011 with Pistorius at his home, a year before Olympics. Written by Sportsmail’s Jon McEvoy:

'This being South Africa, one baseball bat and one cricket bat lie behind Pistorius's bedroom door. A revolver is at his bedside. A machine gun by his window.'

Police spokesperson Katlego Mogale told eNCA that she could not confirm the man's identity until he appears in court.

She added that a 9mm pistol was recovered from the scene and a case of murder is being investigated. The woman was apparently shot four times.

Police are still busy with preliminary investigations on the scene, and statements are being taken from neighbours.

Access all areas: Sportsmail were allowed into Pretorius' Pretoria home last year

Access all areas: Sportsmail were allowed into Pretorius' Pretoria home last year

Access all areas: Sportsmail were allowed into Pretorius' Pretoria home last year

Access all areas: Sportsmail were allowed into Pretorius' Pretoria home last year
Pistorius' medal haul:

Paralympics

2004 Athens – Bronze 100 m (T44) Gold 200 m (T44)
2008 Beijing – Gold 100 m (T44) Gold 200 m (T44) Gold 400 m (T44)
2012 London – Silver 200 m (T44) Gold 400 m (T44) Gold 4 100 m relay (T42–T46)

World Championships

Daegu 2011 – Silver 4 400 m relay

Paramedics were called to the house after the shooting and declared the woman dead at the scene.

Police captain Sarah Mcira told local media that a woman – who died at the scene – was shot in the head and arm.

The police spokeswoman declined to confirm the identity of the man in custody.

'I can confirm that a woman has been fatally wounded in a shooting at Oscar Pistorius' house,' the spokeswoman said.

'A 26-year-old man has been taken into custody.'

Flying the flag: Pistorius leads out his fellow South Africans at the Paralympics

Flying the flag: Pistorius leads out his fellow South Africans at the Paralympics

Flying the flag: Pistorius leads out his fellow South Africans at the Paralympics

Mogale said: 'The incident happened at 3am. We received a call and attended the scene. The call did not come from the man in custody but from another person.

'Currently there is an inquiry into what happened.'

Tragedy: The woman found dead is believed to be Reeva Steenkamp (left)

Tragedy: The woman found dead is believed to be Reeva Steenkamp (left)

Mogale says when police arrived they
found paramedics trying to revive a 30-year-old woman who had been shot
an unspecified number of times. Mogale says the woman died at the house.

Officers found a 9-mm pistol at the scene and took the 26-year-old Pistorius into custody.

Behind the scenes: Pistorius plays with his dogs and his guitar at his home last year

Behind the scenes: Pistorius plays with his dogs and his guitar at his home last year

Behind the scenes: Pistorius plays with his dogs and his guitar at his home last year

Body art: Pistorius shows off one of his tattoos - a bible passage

Body art: Pistorius shows off one of his tattoos – a bible passage

The incident occurred at Pistorius' home in the Silver Lakes area of Pretoria.

Pistorius, who races wearing carbon
fibre prosthetic blades after he was born without a fibula in both legs,
was the first double amputee to run in the Olympics and reached the 400
semi-finals in London 2012.

South Africa has some of the world's
highest rates of violent crime and some home-owners carry weapons to
defend themselves against intruders.

No fear: Pistorius poses for Sportsmail's Andy Hooper last year

No fear: Pistorius poses for Sportsmail's Andy Hooper last year

Olympic Stadium to host London Grand Prix

Olympic Stadium to host London Grand Prix on anniversary of 2012 opening ceremony… but will Bolt run away from taxman again

as she claimed gold in the heptathlon” class=”blkBorder” />

Local hero: Jessica Ennis was one of the stars of London 2012 as she claimed gold in the heptathlon

Mo Farah, who won gold medals in the
10,000 metres and 5,000m at the Olympics, said: 'The atmosphere was
electric during the Games, I'll never forget it, so it's great that the
British fans, and athletes, will get to experience that again so soon
after the Games.'

Athletics tickets were among the most sought after for the Games and heptathlon gold medallist Jessica Ennis hopes the Grand Prix will give people who were unable to buy tickets a chance to see high-class athletics at the stadium.

She said: 'It is brilliant to hear that the British Athletics London GP is going to be held at the Olympic Stadium a year after the Games.

'It will give athletes and fans who did not get to experience the amazing venue the chance to go there, and for those of us who had the most incredible experiences on the track and field, an opportunity to relive a few memories.

'Hopefully I will be there and using the competition as part of my preparation for the World Championships.'

Speedsters: Usain Bolt (left) and his Jamaican team-mates set a new 4x100m world record in London

Speedsters: Usain Bolt (left) and his Jamaican team-mates set a new 4x100m world record in London

Lighting up London: The stadium was also full for the Paralympics last summer

Lighting up London: The stadium was also full for the Paralympics last summer

Sportsmail"s Magnificent Seven, including Louis Smith and Tom Daley, come together for the final time

Thanks for being MAGNIFICENT! Sportsmail pays tribute to the seven athletes we have followed from 2005 to the 2012 Olympics

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UPDATED:

00:04 GMT, 28 December 2012

Seven years ago, Sportsmail began following seven young athletes as they set out on their journeys to try to reach the 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games in London.

Three of the original seven made it to the Games but two called time on their sporting careers before the start of this year. Their replacements, however, were both part of Team GB and Paralympics GB last summer.

It has been an enlightening experience, punctuated by extremes of success and disappointment, watching the development of these athletes' careers since 2005.

Recently, Sportsmail's Magnificent Seven met up for the final time and shared memories of their experiences.

Then and now: From left, Gemma Howell, Tom Daley, Louise Watkin, Sportsmail's Andy Hooper, Emily Pidgeon, Shanaze Reade and Louis Smith met up for one final time recently

Then and now: From left, Gemma Howell, Tom Daley, Louise Watkin, Sportsmail's Andy Hooper, Emily Pidgeon, Shanaze Reade and Louis Smith met up for one final time recently

As they were: The original Magnificent Seven lined up at Lord's, from left, Tom Daley, Louis Smith, Jean-Rene Badrick, Emily Pidgeon, Giles Scott, Rachael Latham and Shanaze Reade

As they were: The original Magnificent Seven lined up at Lord's, from left, Tom Daley, Louis Smith, Jean-Rene Badrick, Emily Pidgeon, Giles Scott, Rachael Latham and Shanaze Reade

Tom Daley, Diving, 18, from Plymouth

The youngest of the Magnificent Seven has become a superstar. Daley was selected for the Beijing Games aged just 14 after becoming a British and European champion in the 10-metre platform.

He added the world title in 2009, two Commonwealth golds (in the individual event and synchronised 10m platform) in 2010 and then won an emotional Olympic bronze medal in London, despite intense pressure and expectation and the passing of his father, Rob, in May 2011.

'When I look at some of the photos from 2005 I'm so small! It's crazy how much I've changed since then and what I've achieved in that time.

'Life's changed, too. In fact, it's stacked up to a whole new level since London. Going out anywhere, there are so many people who stop you and say, “Congratulations”.

'It's nice to feel appreciated and respected but it does feel weird that seven years of training were geared towards London 2012 and now it's been and gone.

Superstar: Tom Daley won a bronze medal in the men's 10m platform at the London Games

Superstar: Tom Daley won a bronze medal in the men's 10m platform at the London Games

In the spotlight: Daley (right) presented the Young Sports Personality of the Year award to Josef Craig (centre)

In the spotlight: Daley (right) presented the Young Sports Personality of the Year award to Josef Craig (centre)

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN…

The Magnificent Seven series originated in 2005 through Sportsmail selecting seven talented athletes to follow through to London 2012.

The National Lottery joined as partner in 2006 to promote their funding into the seven chosen athletes, along with over 1,200 other competitors, on their journey to the London 2012 Games.

National Lottery funding, originating directly from the Lottery-playing public across the UK, enables elite athletes to benefit from the world-class coaching, facilities and medical support, giving them every possible chance to succeed during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As the nation's attention moves from the London 2012 Games to Rio 2016, The National Lottery will continue to invest in sports facilities, support staff and coaching, providing opportunities for future generations to succeed on an elite level.

No-one has contributed more to our athletes than National Lottery players, with more than 1,200 athletes having benefited from world-class coaching and support. www.national-lottery.co.uk/London2012

'I think 2012 changed the face of British sport but there was a bit of a crash after the Olympics when I thought, “I can't believe it's all over.” I'm slowly, gradually, building my way back up there.

'After the Games, I went on holiday with my family and then got two golds at the World Junior Championships: one in the 10-metre event and one in the 3m synchro with Jack Laugher. Then I went to Dubai with my friends and have been back at school catching up on my maths and Spanish A-levels. I want to get three A*s rather than three As.

'Rio in four years' time does seem a long way away, but there are also World Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth Games in between, so there's plenty to look forward to.

'I think in total I might make maybe four or five Olympic Games – depending on how diving moves on – but we'll get to Rio first. It's outdoors, which the Chinese don't like, and I love diving outdoors.'

Louise Watkin, Paralympic Swimming, 20, from Redhill (replaced Rachael Latham)

Latham, who was born with Erbs Palsy, which limits the use of her left arm, made two swimming finals at the Paralympic Games in Beijing.

She retired in 2010 due to injury but went on to become a Channel 4 presenter and was a Sportsmail columnist during the London Paralympics. Watkin, who has upper limb deficiency, won two Paralympic silvers and two bronzes in London.

Dazzling: Louise Watkin won four medals in the London Paralympic Games

Dazzling: Louise Watkin won four medals in the London Paralympic Games

'The Paralympics were amazing. I didn't want them to end. You could hear the crowd when you were under water in the Aquatics Centre. I came away with two medals from the individual events and two in the relays. It went brilliantly.

'In the past four years, the Paralympics has moved on so much. People are still talking about it now. It's nice so many people have got the Paralympics bug. 'I hope there will be more integration in the future. Come and watch us at the World Championships next year. Then hopefully I'll get my gold in Rio!'

Giles Scott, Sailing, 25, from Huntingdon

Scott was a world youth champion in the Laser class when he joined us in 2005 and became world champion in the Finn in 2011. The one major disappointment was missing out on London 2012.

Scott competes in the same class as Ben Ainslie and GB could only send one sailor. With Ainslie now retired, Rio 2016 cannot come soon enough.

Disappointed: Giles Scott missed out on the London Games as he was in the same division as gold medal winner Ben Ainslie

Disappointed: Giles Scott missed out on the London Games as he was in the same division as gold medal winner Ben Ainslie

Who they are

'I wouldn't call it bad luck, being in the same division as Ben. If I had performed at the right regatta it would have led to me being selected to go to the Olympics.

'I was unsure whether to watch the Olympics and some of it was hard, but I got into it and was probably as addicted as everyone else by the end. Since then I have joined an America's Cup team (Team Korea) and moved away from the UK. I wanted to broaden my horizons so I don't mess up for Rio like I did this time around.'

Emily Pidgeon, Athletics, 23, from Cheltenham

Pidgeon was an outstanding junior 5,000 metres runner but has struggled with injuries and found it difficult on the senior circuit. She still hopes her best years are to come.

Her boyfriend, GB runner Andrew Osagie, was in the fastest 800m race in history, the Olympic final in London.

'It has been an amazing journey. It's scary how quickly it's gone. I always thought I'd be there in London, so it's been up and down.

'When I realised I wasn't going to be
able to compete, it wasn't that I didn't want anything to do with the
Olympics but I just knew I'd find it hard to go and watch.

A first: Emily Pidgeon ran around the Olympic Park stadium before anyone else

A first: Emily Pidgeon ran around the Olympic Park stadium before anyone else

'But because I got injured in May I had dealt with that by the time the Olympics came round.

'I was determined to enjoy the experience and I'm so glad I did. I was there to watch Andrew in his heat and his final. I think there's a reason I was injured and I hope Rio will be my time.'

Gemma Howell, Judo, 22, from Telford (replaced Jean-Rene Badrick)

Badrick, then 16, won bronze at the European Youth Olympics but retired in 2010 through injury. Howell replaced him, battled back from serious injury and was selected for London.

She was disqualified in her first-round fight against world champion Gevrise Emane.

'It was the worst and best week of my life. I was devastated. When I came off the mat I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible but then I thought, “I just have to use this going forward to Rio.”

Devastated: Gemma Howell was disqualified in her first round bout at the 2012 Olympics

Devastated: Gemma Howell was disqualified in her first round bout at the 2012 Olympics

'I was more nervous than I'd ever been. I have dreamed since I was little of being Olympic champion and I was a bit overwhelmed. Hopefully I can just get on with the job next time around.

'I've started a sport and exercise science degree at Bath University. My brain hurts after four years out of education. But while I want an Olympic medal more than anything, it's education and judo going forward.'

Louis Smith, Gymnastics, 23, Peterborough

In 2006, Smith won the Commonwealth pommel horse title aged 16 and has not looked back. He won Britain's first individual Olympic gymnastics medal for 100 years with a bronze in Beijing and went one better with silver in London.

He also won a bronze in the men's team event. Since the Games he has won the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing. 'No one would ever have thought we could have got that bronze in the team event. I didn't even think we could do it. It was a big statement to the rest of the world.

'It was really hard to come back again for my individual event. Winning the bronze was such a high and then you've got to come back down again for the event that was most important for me, and the one everyone expected me to do well in. It was tough but I'm glad I finished it the way I did.

Enjoying it Smith posed for Sportsmail on the back of a real 'pommel horse'

Enjoying it Smith posed for Sportsmail on the back of a real 'pommel horse'

Proud: Smith put in a sterling performance on the pommel horse to take silver home

Proud: Smith put in a sterling performance on the pommel horse to take silver home

A different route: Smith recently won the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing

A different route: Smith recently won the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing

'There are about seven different paths I could take now: fashion, property, sport. Do I carry on to Rio The Commonwealths When do I call it quits It's about making the right and the best decision, not necessarily the one everyone wants me to make.

'I want to start my own fashion range. It's something I've wanted to do for a while, although I won't be keeping any clothes I've worn on Strictly. They love their glitz and glam and shiny stuff!

'Magnificent Seven has been remarkable in so many different ways. It's been fantastic and we've done some funky stuff along the way.

'I never want to go on a horse again after that photoshoot when I pretended it was a pommel horse! I was scared stiff. I did it, although I probably wouldn't do it now!'

Shanaze Reade, BMX Cycling, 24, from Crewe

Reade went to Beijing as a world champion but crashed out in the final after deciding she would not settle for silver. Reade regained her BMX world title in 2010 and has also won two world championship golds on the track, but that Olympic medal still eludes her. Reade finished sixth in the BMX final in London.

'It was quite hard, mentally, after the Games. Everyone in British cycling did so well and I was tipped to get a medal but, again, I didn't fulfil my potential. I can definitely see what went wrong. It's about staying injury-free moving forward and just getting on that good mental pathway of getting some success under my belt and getting my confidence back.

'I have “Team Reade”, a group of people who I trust and I know will push me, to help me do that, but first and foremost it comes down to me.

Crushed: Shanaze Reade finished sixth in the final of the Olympics BMX Cycling

Crushed: Shanaze Reade finished sixth in the final of the Olympics BMX Cycling

Crushed: Shanaze Reade finished sixth in the final of the Olympics BMX Cycling

'I'm at a crossroads now where I feel I want to be world champion again in BMX, hopefully in New Zealand next year, and win a BMX Olympic medal. But then I've been world champion on the track and I also want to get further in that because I've only ever done six- to eight-week blocks of training. I would like to do the Commonwealth Games, and BMX isn't in it, so we'll see.

'I went to Beijing on such a high. I hadn't lost a race for six or seven years so I thought, “Why should it be any different”

'Coming into London was the opposite. I had been injured, missed races, crashed out of finals. I had never really fulfilled what I was capable of doing on the day. Now I don't want to short-change myself any longer.'

London to host World Paralympic Athletics Championships in 2017

London to host World Paralympic Athletics Championships in 2017

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UPDATED:

11:23 GMT, 19 December 2012

London has been named as the host city for the 2017 IPC Athletics World Championships, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced.

The Championships, organised by the International Paralympic Committee, will be held at the Olympic Stadium in July, one month before the same venue stages the IAAF World Athletics Championships.

',' Johnson said.

London calling: David Weir stormed to success in 2012 and fans will be hoping to see similar British heroics in 2017

London calling: David Weir stormed to success in 2012 and fans will be hoping to see similar British heroics in 2017

It will be the first time one city has hosted the two Championships side-by-side after it was argued during the bidding process that London 2012 justifies the return of international Paralympic competition to the capital.

'This year London just staged the best spectacle of sport the world has seen,' said Johnson, who is chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation.

'London’s Paralympic Games were the first ever to sell out and these Championships provide a perfect chance to build on that enthusiasm for disabled sport, bringing back the world’s greatest Paralympians to the Olympic Stadium, and at the same time providing a major economic boost to the capital.'

IPC President Sir Philip Craven hailed London 2012 as the 'best Games' in history with 1,134 athletes taking part in track and field events, setting 102 world and 139 Paralympic records.

Sprint king: Fans will hope to see Jonnie Peacock make a return to the Olympic Stadium

Sprint king: Fans will hope to see Jonnie Peacock make a return to the Olympic Stadium

The athletics at the Paralympics drew sold-out crowds of 80,000 for every session and attracted more than a billion cumulated television viewers worldwide.

'The UK’s capital city has already demonstrated its ability to provide an excellent experience for athletes and spectators alike,' said Ed Warner, IPC Athletics Sport Technical Committee Chairperson and Chair of UK Athletics.

'London 2017 will bring record crowds for an IPC World Championships, creating an ideal backdrop for athletes to break records, further raising the profile of sport for people with an impairment in the process.'

The IPC Athletics World Championships are the largest single-sport competition for athletes with an impairment in the world and take place on a bi-annual basis.

Olympic and Paralympic funding for Rio 2016 gets 11% increase on London 2012

Roll on Rio: Olympic and Paralympic funding for 2016 to get 11 per cent increase on 2012
UK sport announce record pot of 347million18 sports had their funding increase, five had cuts
Boxing biggest winner with 44.5% increaseCycling, athletics, rowing and gymnastics all have funding increases
Swimming, volleyball, archery, judo and badminton all have cuts

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UPDATED:

17:27 GMT, 18 December 2012

funding

Most of Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic sports were celebrating the announcement of funding rises for the next four years but several sports, including swimming, basketball, volleyball and handball, are paying the price for failure with severe cuts to their income.

UK Sport announced a record pot of 347m to be distributed in the run-up to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games with cycling, rowing, boxing, athletics and gymnastics among those given increases.

It is a different story for those
sports that did not meet their performance targets in London including
swimming, whose funding is cut to 21.4m from 25.1m, volleyball (down
to 400,000 from 3.5m), plus basketball, handball, wrestling and table
tennis, which miss out on funding altogether.

UK
Sport’s target is for Britain to be even more successful in Rio than in
London, where the teams won 65 medals in the Olympics and 120 in the
Paralympics.

The funding
body’s chief executive Liz Nicholl said: 'We want to be the first nation
in recent history to be more successful in the Olympics and Paralympics
post-hosting.'

UK Sport’s chairman Sue Campbell admitted some sports would be devastated by the news.

She added however: 'It isn’t about being popular it’s about making tough decisions about where public money goes.'

The
biggest increase of any Olympic sport goes to boxing, a 44% increase,
to 13.8m, though 9.55m is conditional on sport sorting out some
internal issues.

Cycling is
up to 30.6m from 26.3m, athletics has a 1.7m increase to 26.8m,
rowing up from 27.3m to 32.6m, and gymnastics up from 10.8m to
14.5m.

Investment in Paralympic sport also rises dramatically, up 43% on London 2012.

Increase: Nicola Adams won one of GB boxing's three gold medals in London and the sport has enjoyed the largest funding growth

Increase: Nicola Adams won one of GB boxing's three gold medals in London and the sport has enjoyed the largest funding growth

Dominant: Britain's cyclists won seven out of a possible 10 gold medals in the Velodrome as well as Wiggins's time trial win

Dominant: Britain's cyclists won seven out of a possible 10 gold medals in the Velodrome as well as Wiggins's time trial win

Artistic: The British gymnastics team won four medals and 15-year-old Rebecca Tunney also gave a good performance

Artistic: The British gymnastics team won four medals and 15-year-old Rebecca Tunney also gave a good performance

Disappointing: Michael Jamieson's 200m breaststroke silver was as good as it got for Britain's swimmers who endured a difficult Olympics

Disappointing: Michael Jamieson's 200m breaststroke silver was as good as it got for Britain's swimmers who endured a difficult Olympics

David Weir interview: You have to be quite scary, give evil stares, says Paralympic gold medal hero

EXCLUSIVE: You have to be quite scary, give evil stares and tell them to get out of my way, says… the Weirwolf of London!

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UPDATED:

23:01 GMT, 10 December 2012

The man known as the 'Animal' of wheelchair racing, who won four gold medals at the Paralympic Games in London, is sitting in a cafe in Richmond Park, south-west London, sipping a coffee.

David Weir is quiet, humble and softly spoken, smiling tiredly as he talks about his 10-week-old daughter, Tillia Grace London. He still seems overawed by the scale of his achievements and how his life has changed since that glorious summer.

But when the conversation turns to sport — and, specifically, competition — Weir is transformed. His blue eyes become piercing and intense as he explains, with passion verging on venom, what it means to him to race in a British vest and the ruthlessness it takes to succeed.

Animal passion: David Weir wins gold in the T54 800 metres at the London 2012 Paralympics

Animal passion: David Weir wins gold in the T54 800 metres at the London 2012 Paralympics

It was a striking change that was noticeable during the Games, too, as this polite, mild-mannered man executed four tactically perfect finals in nine days.

Weir won the T54 800 metres, 1500m, 5,000m and marathon and now has a tattoo of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike, to match the insignia on the four gold medals which he removes carefully from their black velvet cases. Appropriately, the six-time London Marathon winner also has another tattoo on his chest which means ‘winner’ in Japanese.

‘You have to be quite scary,’ says Weir, ‘because if you’re not, people will box you in. So you give them some evil stares and tell them to “**** off and get out of my way”. They’re going to move. I wouldn’t move, but some people will.

‘On the track I just switch on to being a racer and winning. It takes anything to win. I wouldn’t say I would cause accidents but you have to be ruthless.

‘I do certain things on the warm-up
track that might unsettle the guys’ minds. I will wait until they’ve
gone past me and then start my warm-up lap, pushing at a good speed and
just sitting behind them. Then I go past them and look like I’m at ease.
Just to show them. When I was sprinting, my starts weren’t great and,
because you would be allowed one false start without being disqualified,
sometimes I used to false-start on purpose. Then I knew I would get
away as good as everyone else.’

Patriot: Weir celebrates his marathon victory

Proud day: Weir was awarded the Freedom of City of London at Guildhall last week

Proud patriot: Weir celebrates marathon victory (left) and was awarded the Freedom of City of London (right)

There are two distinct sides to ‘The Weirwolf’. After the Games the 33-year-old, an aspiring DJ, spent five days in Ibiza indulging his love of house music, yet he arranges our interview for 9am so he can spend the day with his family.

He was awarded the freedom of the City of London last week but still lives in ‘a two-bedroomed terrace’ on the ‘same council estate’ in Wallington, south-west London, where he grew up.

Weir was so painfully shy when he rediscovered athletics in 2002 that he took months to pluck up the courage to ring his coach, Jenny Archer, because he ‘didn’t want to bother anyone’. Archer, who worked with Wimbledon FC’s ‘Crazy Gang’ in the 1980s, has subsequently helped him become the greatest wheelchair racer of all by training with cyclists in Richmond Park.

His drive and toughness surface again when we discuss the BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday evening, for which Weir has been nominated along with fellow Paralympians Sarah Storey and Ellie Simmonds. Weir says he does not normally attend because a Paralympic athlete has not been included on the shortlist since the then Tanni (now Baroness) Grey-Thompson in 2000. She came third but was unable to accept her award because there was no ramp to the stage.

So should there be a separate award to recognise the achievements of Paralympics GB ‘No, never,’ Weir says. ‘We want to compete against the best. All right, we probably won’t win it, but we want to compete.

Hometown hero: Weir still lives in his two-bedroomed house in Wallington despite his extraordinary success

Hometown hero: Weir still lives in his two-bedroomed house in Wallington despite his extraordinary success

‘I am just in awe of being in the top 12 with these great athletes, but I don’t think it should ever be separate because then you’re segregating it again and we don’t want that.

‘Sports Personality is about sport. We want to be branded as athletes. Speak to any Paralympian and they’ll tell you the same — and if they didn’t…’ His voice trails off and he takes a deep breath. God help anyone who dares to disagree with Weir in this mood.

‘I would hate to see it separated,’ he continues. ‘You’re a sports person and that’s what it is: sports personality. It doesn’t matter about colour, race, women, disabled — it’s all about sport and that’s all that matters.’

The quality of the sport, after all, was the most memorable thing about the 2012 Paralympics, the ‘perfect Games’ that Weir describes as being ‘like a storybook’.

‘It just feels like I’ve read a story on an athlete’s life,’ he adds.

The positive experience Weir had in London is even more moving when you consider his first taste of the Paralympics in Atlanta 16 years ago.

It was, as he puts it, ‘shocking’. The Athletes’ Village, the facilities, the crowds were all ‘very disappointing’. America did not — and still does not, to a large extent — ‘get’ the Paralympic movement, leaving a 17-year-old Weir thinking: ‘What’s the point’

Path to glory: Weir trains in Richmond Park with professional cyclists and credits beetroot juice for his success

Path to glory: Weir trains in Richmond Park with pro cyclists and credits beetroot juice for his success

‘I did nothing after Atlanta,’ he
explains. ‘No training. I couldn’t get a job, couldn’t do anything. I
struggled. I had left school at 16 and was on the dole, doing nothing.

‘Then I saw the Games in Sydney on TV four years later and that broke my heart a little bit. I thought maybe I would have been there, winning a medal. I thought, “What have I done” I just wanted to represent my country. I felt like I let my country down and a lot of other people down. I had missed the World Championships in ’98. I just didn’t turn up. I didn’t do enough training so I didn’t deserve to be there and I told them (the British team) that.

‘So when they did ask me to come back on the squad I felt like I was paying it back. I felt very proud after that.’

Weir’s pride in competing for his country shines through. He is not thinking about defending his titles in Rio in 2016 yet, but the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is a real desire.

His willingness to discuss his patriotism is not sickly, but heartfelt — and fairly unusual for athletes in an individual sport who, in their blinkered pursuit of success, can appear selfish. Weir desperately wanted to finish London 2012 by winning his fourth gold in the marathon on the Mall, ‘with Buckingham Palace and all those British flags’ behind him.

Golden boy: Weir shows off his four medals from 2012

Golden boy: Weir shows off his medals

‘I was very conscious I was competing in a British vest,’ he says. ‘I saw all those British flags and people jumping up and down and just thought, “No way am I going to let anyone past me”.

‘I think the British public gets Paralympic sport and I think it was the first time (at a Games) we didn’t get treated as disabled. It was, “We’re going to watch David Weir, or Hannah Cockroft, or Jonnie Peacock”. It wasn’t because they’re disabled.’

Quite the opposite. Watching Weir in the distinctive red helmet Archer has spirited away for safe-keeping was a distinctly enabling experience. He was imperious and apparently unstoppable for that nine-day period, powered only, as Boris Johnson pointed out, by beetroot juice.

Weir drinks ‘litres of it’ — mixed with apple juice — three days before a race and then had a concentrated shot of the red stuff during the marathon. He seems a little miffed, however, that the Mayor of London decided to broadcast his ‘secret’ to the ‘whole world’ during the Team GB parade.

‘It’s a bit stronger than coffee,’ he says, laughing now. ‘It’ll give you a stamina shot all day.
‘I wonder if Boris went home and tried it.’

Ellie Simmonds reveals quit threat

Simmonds: It was all over and I thought 'I can't be bothered any more'

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UPDATED:

20:34 GMT, 1 December 2012

Ellie Simmonds sat on the sofa at her home in Walsall in the days after the Paralympics, the roar of the Aquatics Centre willing her to her first and most memorable gold medal of the Games reduced to a muffled, precious memory.

At 17, before most of her peers had even decided on a career, she accepted that the defining moment of hers had probably been and gone. 'I was on a serious low,' said Simmonds.

Great Briton: Simmonds has committed herself to winning more golds in Rio

Great Briton: Simmonds has committed herself to winning more
golds in Rio

Bronzed babe: Simmonds also won bronze

Bronzed babe: Simmonds also won bronze

'I sat around for a few days, maybe even weeks. I became a real sofa person. I considered whether I actually wanted to swim any more and thought, “I don't know what I want to do, I don't know if I can be bothered to do anything at all”.

'For four years I was consumed by London and I thought, “Now it's over, what have I got to look forward to” I don't think anything can replicate that feeling of winning gold in the 400metres free, to be honest. It's never going to get better than that and Rio seemed so far away.'

Her 'love for winning' was too much to keep her from the water for long and she has committed to the next Paralympic cycle, easing herself back into training with coach Billy Pye.

She balances six sessions a week in the pool with sixth form at Swansea's Olchfa Comprehensive. Swimming took precedence last year to the extent that Simmonds did not perform as strongly in her AS levels as she expected.

It is difficult to maintain grades when you have just been included among the 12 nominees for BBC Sports Personality of the Year at the end of the greatest summer of sport this country has seen.

The invitations – to parades, product launches and film premieres – or, as Simmonds calls it, 'the bonus stuff', have arrived in their hundreds.

In the two months since the Paralympics, Simmonds has met the Queen, the Duchess of Cambridge and Daniel Craig.

At Paris Fashion Week, Simmonds was front row for the Stella McCartney show, flanked by Victoria Pendleton and Louis Smith.

'Stella gave me a dress to wear for an event. She did such a good job on our kits and I love her handbags, so it was lovely that she invited me to Paris,' said Simmonds.

'This year has been all about London and at this point you should step back and enjoy it and make the most of all the opportunities you get. I love swimming and that's what I am, a swimmer. All these added things are just bonuses. I don't do it for that but it's so exciting. I went to the James Bond premiere and have filmed a few TV shows that are out early next year.'

Simmonds is most animated when she talks about the surprise party her family planned for her 18th birthday last month and a promised trip to New York, on hold until the new year.

'I met up with my best friend in the morning,' said Simmonds.

'I asked if she wanted to do something that evening and she said she was busy. I went for a nap and the next thing I knew there was a hog roast man outside and 40 of my family and my friends were there. It was one of the best things ever.'

This week, it was back to work and administering a British Swimming masterclass at Wales National Pool in Swansea. A line of children had their faces pressed against the gallery window, straining to catch a glimpse of her at the water's edge.

Ellie: A one-name sports star

Ellie: A one-name sports star

'Ellie's here,' said the receptionist, qualifying the level of hysteria to a customer.

Like Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Bradley Wiggins, Simmonds has become a one-name sports star in these parts. Emily Else is 10 and has cerebral palsy.

Like Simmonds, she began swimming in able-bodied classes as a five-year-old. 'I was star-struck when I saw Ellie in the flesh,' she said.

'It's so inspirational to talk to her and she gave us lots of advice.'

Simmonds faces different challenges in the water from Emily. But nothing could be more instructive of the bloody-minded determination required to win than Simmonds' 400m freestyle final this summer.

It was her first encounter with American Victoria Arlen, a fellow 17-year-old who had arrived on the scene just two months earlier after being paralysed below the waist by a virus.

Confusion surrounded Arlen's classification and she was confirmed on the start list just two hours before the race.

Inspiration: Simmonds with her gold for the 200m medley

Inspiration: Simmonds with her gold for the 200m medley

'That's the thing with Paralympic sport,' said Simmonds.

'Someone might have an accident a year earlier and then be placed in my S6 category. I just had to presume she would always be competing and prepare accordingly.'

Any doubts about how competitive and thrilling Paralympic sport can be evaporated as she overhauled Arlen in the final length.

'I'll remember that feeling forever,' said Simmonds. 'All the pain that you go through in training and in the race. To touch and it all just disappears. I felt all the relief, pure pleasure.'

Simmonds thinks the often talked of 'legacy' of the Paralympics can be split into two parts – the first being access to sport for disabled people; the second, a positive change in the perception of disabled people among the wider public.

'Channel 4 did such a good job with the coverage and I think it showed the public that we're just normal athletes with a disability,' said Simmonds.

'Having three Paralympians nominated for sports personality [David Weir and Sarah Storey are also up for the award] is amazing.

'For me, it is a huge honour. I hope that one day a Paralympian could win it, I don't see why not.'

Simmonds talks breezily about fashion and friends as she drives me back to the train station; the pedal extensions, raised floor and cushion support in her Mini One the only reminders of her disability.

The CDs strewn on the floor, a scented air freshener hung above the dashboard, giggling about boys and talk of Ugg boots for Christmas offer a far better insight into the real Ellie Simmonds, a normal teenage girl with extraordinary ability.

Ellie Simmonds is a member of the British Gas GBR Disability Swimming Team. British Gas has been the principal partner of British Swimming since 2009 and is encouraging everyone in Britain to discover the benefits of swimming. For more info, visit www.facebook.com/BGSwimming