TANZANIA's 21km record holder, Ismail Juma, who died on Thursday in a road accident, is laid to rest today at his Babati home district. His coach and officials of Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) confirmed late yesterday.
Following his sudden demise, the Tanzania's Club Games hope was also dealt a big blow as he was in the list of athletes to form a team for the games to be held in Australia next year.
Ismail, the owner of the country's half marathon record, was among the athletes in the Tanzanian training for Commonwealth Games to be held in Gold Coast Australia next year. The whole athletic fraternity was deeply shocked yesterday when athlete's death was announced, according to Tullo Chambo, an official from Tanzania Athletics Federation (AT).
Chambo who confirmed a report of the athlete's death said Juma passed away on Thursday after a speeding lorry(Mitsubishi Fuso) hit his motorcycle while riding home along Babati- Dodoma highway and the poor runner died on the spot.
According to Chambo, the athlete will be buried today at his Babati home district. His Coach, Dennis Malle told the 'Daily News' via phone yesterday the deceased runner is expected to be laid to rest this afternoon at Gendi Cemetery a few kilometers from Babati town.
Malle said the athlete was riding home from Babati town market when the lorry hit his motorcycle and fled away. He was pronounced dead on the spot. The athlete's death came while the country was banking on him as one of the medal hopes due to his fast progressing career in athletics.
Prior to his death, Juma was about to start enjoying the 5000 US dollar award from Adidas after finishing third in the Prague Marathon held in Czech Republic. He said the cash prize was expected to arrive at the end of this month.
He was scheduled on November 15, to travel to Nairobi, Kenya to sign a new agreement with Adidas. Just a few months ago, Juma broke the national half marathon record of 59:52 set by Dickson Marwa after clocking 59:30 minutes.
At the same time, the Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) has sent condolences to the family of a deceased. Tanzania Olympic Committee(TOC) Secretary Filbert Bayi said Tanzania has lost an important person and a big medal hope.
He said he knows Juma as among the best athletes in the country at the moment and sadly, his name was among those listed by TOC for the Commonwealth Games camp. He sadly said Tanzanians will miss him and so will be the Gold Coast Games of Australia in 2018.