Okocha shines, Jari chokes in Lagos

HARARE - Zimbabwe long distance runner Munyaradzi Jari melted in the Nigerian heat and humid conditions while retired ex-Super Eagles captain Austin “Jay Jay” Okocha completed the Lagos Marathon on Saturday.

Racing in only his maiden Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, a certified Bronze Label Marathon, the Zimbabwe Republic Police Athletic Club runner threw in the towel after 24km of the 42km race after succumbing to the hot and humid weather where he said he had breathing problems.

The Lagos city marathon is the second best marathon race in Africa just behind Cape Town marathon race.

He has put his bid to make it to next year’s World Championships in Doha, Qatar in jeopardy for now but remains confident that he will make up for the disappointment in September when he races in the Cape Town Marathon and the Mosselbay race in October in South Africa.

Jari is currently the Mosselbay defending champion after winning the race last year.

“The race was okay only that the weather wasn’t too kind to me, I struggled to even walk or breathe it’s a hot breeze and couldn’t do much about that and as I result I pulled out of the race after 24km as a precautionary measure,” Jari told the Daily News from Nigeria.

“All hope is not lost yet, I will stop for now and concentrate on training but I still have two more races in South Africa later in the year of which I have won the other one before which gives me great confidence so the World Championships dream is still a reality.”

Kenyan-born Frenchman Abraham Kiprotich won the race in 2:15:04 to pocket a cool $50 000 prize money while Ethiopian Herpha Guta won the women’s category in two hours 38 minutes.

Meanwhile, former Nigerian captain Okocha also participated in the race that attracted over 100 000 athletes.

“This is big and massive as far as sports development is concerned and I must commend the sponsors for their consistency. I am here to support the event as well as enjoy myself,” Okocha said.

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