NEVER GIVE UP | JOHN STEPHEN AKHWARI's STORY | THE AFRICA SCOUT REGION CELEBRATES THE HERO
"What ever good you do, Scouting Makes it better"; This closing remarks by Olave Baden Powel from one of the World Scout Jamborees actually reminds us of the story of a scout in person of John Stephen Akwari a former marathon runner who represented Tanzania in the marathon at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. While competing in the marathon in Mexico City, Akhwari cramped up due to the high altitude of the city. He had not trained at such an altitude back in his country. At the 30 kilometer point during the 42 km race, there was jockeying for position between some runners and he was hit. He fell badly wounding his knee and dislocated that joint plus his shoulder hit hard against the pavement. He however continued running, finishing last among the 17 competitors who completed the race (79 had started). The winner of the marathon, Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia, finished in 2:20:26. Akhwari finished in 3:25:27, when there were only a few thousand people left in the stadium, and the sun had set. A television crew was sent out from the medal ceremony when word was received that there was one more runner about to finish. As he finally crossed the finish line a cheer came from the small crowd. When interviewed later and asked why he continued running, he said, "My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race." With the help Mr Abdulkarim Shah, the Chief Commissioner of the Tanzanian National Scout Organization, we celebrate Mr Akhwari once again, one of the greatest models and hero of all times, whose courage and perseverance we so much applaud. I believe its time we celebrate all our heroes past and present, pull them out of the dark and tell their stories to the young generations. To remind and motivate us of the essence of humanity - that of "Creating a better world".
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