NAIROBI, Kenya, A shocking video showing Kenyan athlete, Eliud Magut, being urged on to finish the 2014 St Anthony’s Marathon in the Italian region of Padua despite collapsing thrice has surfaced.
Concerns have been raised why organisers and race marshals who are alongside him let him continue before falling thrice in the barriers as he was urged on to the finish before finally being put in an ambulance.
Magut, the winner of Cannes Marathon in France in 2012 where he ran 2:10:31 in November, months after finishing second in 2:16:30 at the Kigali Peace Marathon in Rwanda is 28 was running in his third attempt over the ultimate distance.
He was gunning to finish third behind winner Fatna Maraoui and compatriot Pharis Kimani who was second.
Reports from Italy on the video posted on the Internet question why action to aid the clearly suffering Magut was taken too late.
“We understand regulations athletes should not be touched and everything… but it is not possible that this man could not be rescued when he gave evident signs of not being in himself?
“And if he died as a result of a collapse? What would have happened? The ambulance was not far away…Is it possible that a doctor could not take responsibility for a decision that could even be life-saving?” Italian website atleticalive.it wrote.
Contacted, Athletics Kenya (AK) officials said they were not aware of the incident but would look into it and establish the welfare of Magut.
On November 30, 2008 another Kenyan athlete, Barnabas Kipkoech, died in Goiania, after collapsing competing at a half-marathon in the central-western city of the South American nation.
The deceased who is survived by a widow and two sons was brought home for burial following the intervention of AK and the Government.
Reaction on the Magut video posted below on social media was swift.
“Seriously, should organisers of the Padova Marathon have allowed this to happen? Isn’t this an insult to Kenyan athletes?
“Magut would have died as the medics watched, urging him on like a prize horse! Athletics Kenya really must act on this sort of modern slavery, in my opinion. Absolutely disgusting! The health of the athlete must come first,” veteran Nation Media Group and 2012 IAAF Journalist of the Year, Elias Makori, posted on his Facebook wall alongside the link of the said video.
His colleagues took the cue to lay on organisers and slate race officials, AK and the Government for compromising the welfare of the runners in allowing unscrupulous managers to exploit their talent with little regard to life.