The John Akhwari International Marathon (JAIM)
He didn’t win a medal. In fact, he came nowhere near. But, in defeat and in pain, he came to represent something much more profound and enduring than many sportsmen achieve in illustrious careers. Akhwari was in the leading pack at 19 Km point of the 42Km. Due to the effect of the high altitude of Mexico City and the jockeying for position between some runners, Akhwari lost his balance and fell hard to the ground, gashing his knee causing a dislocation. Most observers, seeing his injuries, assumed he would pull out and go to the hospital, instead he received medical attention and returned back to the track to continue and finished last among all the participants.
As he crossed the finishing line, a journalist asked him why he decided to bear the pain throughout with no hope of winning, “My Country did not send me 5000 miles to start the race, they sent me 5000 miles to finish the race”. Akhwari responded.
A statement which made him to be regarded as ‘The Father of the Olympic Spirit of No Quit’ by the World Athletic Institutions.
The John Akhwari International Marathon (JAIM) is an event of its kind in East Africa based on Tanzania’s most valuable athlete John Stephen Akhwari who represented the country in the 1968 Olympic Marathon in Mexico.He didn’t win a medal. In fact, he came nowhere near. But, in defeat and in pain, he came to represent something much more.
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