Athletics: Pistorius, charged with murder, left off S. African team for Paralympic world meet

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - As expected, Oscar Pistorius was left off South Africa's team on Thursday for the Paralympic athletics world championships next month in France.

South Africa named a squad of 32 athletes for the event in Lyon from July 19-28. It will be the first major meet that the world's most famous disabled athlete will miss as he prepares for his murder trial in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February.

Charged with premeditated murder in Steenkamp's killing, the double-amputee runner will return to court in South Africa on Aug 19 - the day after the able-bodied world championships, where he had also intended to run, conclude in Moscow.

Pistorius has dropped out of all competition this year to focus on his trial, which has no start date yet but could begin in September, state prosecutors say. He denies murdering Steenkamp at his home in the early hours of Feb 14 and says he killed her by accident after mistaking her for a night-time intruder.

The 26-year-old Pistorius, who is a current Paralympic world champion in the 200m and 400m, was planning to again run at the disabled and the able-bodied world meets this season, a double he achieved in 2011 when he became the first amputee athlete to run at the International Association of Athletics Federations world championships.

He also was targeting a second appearance at the able-bodied Olympics in 2016, when he had planned to end his career alongside longtime coach Ampie Louw following that year's Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The South African has not competed since last year's London Paralympics and his track future is uncertain as he faces a life sentence, with a minimum of 25 years in prison, if convicted of murdering Steenkamp.