Track & Field Official Killed in Javelin Throw Accident

A sports judge has died after being struck in the throat by a javelin throw at a German youth track meet in Duesseldorf, resulting in the immediate cancellation of the Wilhelm Unger Games.

74-year-old athletics sports official Dieter Strack was reportedly taking a measurement of a previous athlete’s javelin throw when he was struck in the throat by a subseqent contestant’s javelin, the spear exiting through Strack’s neck, severing his carotid artery and causing severe and fatal blood loss.

According to the USA Track & Field’s Throwing Officials’ Manual, which is similar to international guidelines, field judges should remain at least 15 feet away from where they anticipate a throw will land, though IAAF measurement timing regulations may require an official to respond to a mark before the projectile falls, while the triangulation method may delay a mark from being achieved immediately.

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