World record-holding Kenyan marathon runner Kelvin Kiptum killed in car accident | Athletics News

Kiptom, who emerged on the marathon scene in October, was the favorite to win the Paris Olympics.

Kelvin Kiptom, the Kenyan world record marathon runner, has died in a car accident.

The death of the 24-year-old, who was driving in western Kenya on Sunday evening when his car overturned, has left the athletics world in shock.

A local police officer said Kiptom lost control of the car, and the young runner and his coach, Jervis Hakizimana, Rwandan, died instantly. A female passenger who was injured was taken to the hospital.

Kiptum rose to prominence on the marathon scene when he set a world record of 2:00:35 in Chicago in October, 34 seconds behind the previous record of fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge.

He was only 23 years old at the time, and competing in only his third marathon. Kiptum also won his other two races: his debut in Valencia in 2022 and the follow-up in London the following year.

The Kenyan had announced that he would attempt to become the first man to run an official marathon under the two-hour mark in Rotterdam on April 14.

Kiptum was the favorite to win the gold medal at the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris.


Condolences poured in after news of Kiptom’s death.

World Athletics remembered him as “one of the most exciting new prospects to emerge in road running in recent years.”

“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptom and his coach Jervis Hakizimana,” IAAF President Sebastian Coe said in a statement.

“On behalf of all world athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, colleagues and the Kenyan nation,” he added.

Just last week, Ko said he was in Chicago to “officially authenticate” Kiptum’s record.

He added: “An amazing athlete who left a wonderful legacy. We will miss him greatly.”

Kenyan David Rudisha, a two-time Olympic champion in the 800 metres, said he was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the news.

“This is a huge loss,” he wrote on social media platform X.

Former Australian world champion marathon runner Robert de Castella also paid tribute to the athlete.

“A terrible tragedy! And just like that, the rising star is gone. It highlights how important life is, and how vulnerable we all are,” De Castilla said.

Kenya's Kelvin Kiptum crosses the finish line to win the men's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Kiptom crosses the finish line to win the men’s race at the London Marathon (File: Alberto Bezzali/AP)

Kiptom comes from Chepkoryo, a village located in the Rift Valley and the heart of the region Kenyan distance raceand where his death eventually occurred.

Ten years ago, when he was a teenager, he herded goats and sheep and then began following Hakizimana, who is from Rwanda, and other runners as they trained in the legendary high country.

By 2019, Kiptom had run two half marathons in two weeks, clocking 60:48 in Copenhagen and 59:53 in Belfort, France. He began training with Hakizimana, who remained in Kenya when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

Kiptum’s death is the latest in a series of tragedies to befall young athletics aspirants in Kenya.

In 2011, marathon runner Samuel Wanjiru died at the same age after winning the 2008 Olympic title in Beijing.

According to the pathologist, Wanjiru was killed as a result of a blow to the head with a sharp object.

In 2021, a long-distance running star Agnes Tirop was found stabbed to death She is 25 years old at her home in Iten, near Eldoret.

Her husband, Ibrahim Rotich, was tried for her murder in November last year. He denied the charge and was released on bail just before the trial began.

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