Athletics judge killed by javelin thrown by German teenager

Aug 28, 2012

Referee died after he was hit in the neck by the throw at event in Dusseldorf

AN ATHLETICS judge in Germany has been killed after being hit by a javelin in a freak accident at an event in Germany.

The 74-year-old man, named as Dieter Strack, was adjudicating at a youth athletics meet in Dusseldorf on Sunday when the incident happened, said local authorities.

According to the Daily Mail he had "gone to measure the throw of a previous athlete when the javelin from the next contestant hit him in the throat and exited out of his neck".

"The official started walking towards the javelin before it had landed," a Dusseldorf fire brigade spokesman told The Independent. "[He] sustained a wound to his carotid artery. He was bleeding very badly and lost a lot of blood." He was treated at the scene by the emergency services and then rushed to hospital but he died on Monday.

The event, featuring hundreds of athletes, which was being watched by around 800 people at the stadium in the Rath district of the city, was immediately cancelled.

The 15-year-old competitor who threw the javelin needed psychological counselling after the accident as did seven spectators at the scene.

The Mail also reports that Strack's 18-year-old granddaughter, Fiona, had been due to compete at the championships.

"The popular and experienced sports judge was the victim of a tragic accident while carrying out his duties on 26 August," said the local athletics association for Duesseldorf and Neuss on its website. "All of us who were there are horrified and in shock."

Police spokesman Andre Hartwig said an investigation was underway.

"Occasional accidents occur in athletics disciplines such as the javelin and the hammer, but deaths are extremely rare," said The Independent. "In 2007, French long jumper Salim Sdiri was speared by a javelin at an athletics meeting in Rome and had to be taken to hospital for his injuries."

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