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Olympic champ Wanjiru in car crash

Friday January 21 2011

Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya celebrates before crossing the finish line to win the 2009 men's elite event in the London Marathon. PHOTO/ REUTERS

Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya celebrates before crossing the finish line to win the 2009 men's elite event in the London Marathon. PHOTO/ REUTERS 

By JOSEPH KANYI [email protected] and FRANCIS MUREITHI [email protected]

Olympic marathon gold medallist Samuel Wanjiru narrowly escaped death on Friday when he was involved in  a road accident at Bahati trading centre along Bahati – Morop road.

Area head of  police Johnston Ipara said the 5.25pm  accident occurred next to former President Moi’s farm when Wanjiru tried to avoid a pot hole.

Ipara said in a bid to avoid colliding with an oncoming lorry, Wanjiru’s Lexus Land Cruiser  lost control and veered off the road and rolled several times .

The lorry did not stop after the accident.

“The vehicle was extensively damaged. The windscreen was completely shattered and the vehicle was dented all over,” said Ipara.

The police boss said it could not be immediately be established how many passengers were in the vehicle at the time of the accident
Police arrived immediately and took him to a near by Bahati Dispensary.

His damaged vehicle was towed to Bahati Police station awaiting inspection.

The Olympic champion is facing court charges relating to possession of an illegal firearm and threats to his wife.

Ipara said he could not say where Wanjiru went after he was treated and discharged at the Bahati Dispensary..

According to an eye witness the athlete was driving to his Nyahururu home from Nakuru.

Paramedics at the dispensary recommended that he be taken to the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital in Nakuru some 20 Kilometres away , but he declined.

“The athlete feared that if he was taken to Nakuru he will attract media attention and pleaded to be taken to Nyahururu District Hospital for further check up,” said  source at Bahati Dispensary centre. Ipara said although Wanjiru’s car was extensively damaged, he was out of danger.

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces cross country champions will be held today at the Laikipia Air Base in Nanyuki. World champion Joseph Ebuya and Mark Kiptoo of Laikipia Air Base, the 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist, are expected to provide the thrills of the day in the men’s 12km race.

Ebuya arrived in the country on Thursday evening after testing Punta Umbria World Cross Country circuit in Spain and is tipped to win the 12km men’s event.

Also eyeing the glory will be Kahawa’s Vincent Kiprop, the 2007 Mombasa world cross country championships silver medalist who will be against Abraham Cherono of Isiolo and and Kahawa Garison’s Shadrack Kosgei.