While Oscar Pistorius awaits his trial for the killing of his lover, Reeva Steenkamp, another attractive young blonde is constantly at his side.
But there’s no danger of athlete Claudia Viljoen stepping into tragic model Steenkamp’s shoes since her role with the Paralympic gold medallist is very different.
Her job as double amputee sprinter Pistorius’s training partner is to keep the Blade Runner focused on athletics and not on the case due to be heard in August.
Viljoen, 24, a former international 100m and 200m hurdler, is a regular visitor to the Pretoria home of Pistorius’s uncle Arnold, where a gym has been built in the pool house.
The pair train together on a treadmill, bicycle and weights equipment each day, but Viljoen, an old friend of 26-year-old Pistorius, has told friends she is reporting back regularly to his coach, Ampie Louw, on the Paralympian’s state of mind as he tries to rebuild his shattered life.
“Claudia trains with Oscar in the morning, often together with his uncle Arnold’s family,” said a source close to the Pistorius family.
Viljoen, who describes herself as “a 100m hurdler and sports scientist”, is engaged to business consultant James Heunis, 30. She was in South Africa’s preparation squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but suddenly dropped out, apparently because of personal issues. Aside from her athletics, she works for her family’s plant hire business.
Her looks earned her a place in the Athletics South Africa 2011 calendar as Miss July, where she appeared in a carefully-posed shot wearing only briefs and a medal.
On Sunday, her father, Barend Viljoen, told The Mail on Sunday that the Pistorius family were closing ranks over Oscar.
He said: “They know what they are doing. They have brought in professional people to help. We would prefer to keep everything private.”
Steenkamp’s mother, June, recently said she was shocked to learn her daughter was in pain after she was shot the first time while in the bathroom during the Valentine’s Day tragedy.
Pistorius then fired two more bullets into the room, one of which killed her. Pistorius told the court at his bail hearing in April that he feared a burglar had broken into his apartment. He said he grabbed his gun from the table closest to Steenkamp’s side of the bed and began firing.
Arnold Pistorius said last week his nephew stayed inside most of the time, surrounded by pictures of Steenkamp. “He’s got photos in his room, he’s got photos all over the place. What can you say if the person you love the most dies and you were the instrument – it’s unthinkable.” – Mail on Sunday