'Trial could affect Pistorius's performance'

A sports psychologist says personal problems can prevent sport stars from performing at their best.

South African Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius appears in the Pretoria Magistrate Court on 20 February 2013. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - While murder accused Oscar Pistorius decides this week if he wants to continue competing in athletics, a sports psychologist says athletes who are not in the right frame of mind often struggle to perform.

The Blade Runner is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day, but claims it was an accident.

The North Gauteng High Court has given him permission to travel abroad, paving the way for him to compete in the World Championships in Moscow in August.

The court found Pretoria's chief magistrate did not properly consider several factors in Pistorius's case when imposing bail condition on him.

Sports psychologist Greyling Veljoen says personal problems can often prevent athletes from performing at their best.

"It would also affect decision making so whatever is going on in your private life would be destructive."

Viljoen would not specifically comment on Pistorius's situation, but said with help, sport stars can compete at a top level despite their troubles.

Pistorius is due to meet his agent and trainer this week to decide whether he will resume competing.

His trial will resume in June.