Driver of car ‘didn’t know Jari had been hurt’

2013-08-27 00:00

MANDELA Day Marathon lead car driver Mike Rook has given an explanation to the incident that allegedly put favourite Munyaradzi Jari out of the race on Sunday.

Rook, in a post on KZN Athletics’ Facebook page, said he only heard that Jari had been hurt when he reached Howick.

“The incident was just after 6 km. The press vehicle ahead was having trouble negotiating some ill-placed cones as we approached the M70, which forced me to slow [down] and almost stop,” wrote Rook.

“The runner appeared to collide with the rear side of the car as he passed. Apart from appearing annoyed, he looked okay. He was still in the lead a few [kilometres] later, I had no idea he was hurt.”

KZN Athletics president Sello Mokoena said their officials handled the situation with distinction. He added that he will contact Jari to see in what way they can assist with his rehabilitation and other support he might need. “I am sure our official involved is also traumatised by this and might need professional assistance. We will follow this up,” he added.

Jari’s manager Craig Fry told The Witness yesterday that they had received a number of phone calls telling them that the incident was not being ignored.

“This shows that the event organisers are not shirking responsibility,” said Fry.

Race director Les Moeti told The Witness yesterday that he spoke to Jari and Fry to find out exactly what happened.

“I still haven’t received a report from the driver, and we are also waiting to hear from RTI as to what transpired,” he said.

Of Jari’s injury, he said: “I don’t know how much of an injury it was because he didn’t stay in hospital overnight.”

Jari was in the lead and gunning for the record when he was allegedly knocked by the lead car and forced to quit the race. He currently holds the record for the Mandela Marathon.

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