Kenya: marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum dies in accident

Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum, big favorite for the Olympic title at the Paris Games this summer, died Sunday evening in a road accident in central Kenya, at the age of 24. “The accident occurred around 11:00 p.m. (8:00 p.m. GMT). The car had three occupants. Two died instantly while one was taken to hospital,” the police commander told the press. of Elgeyo Marakwet County, Peter Mulinge, confirming that “the two (dead) are Kiptum and his trainer” Gervais Hakizimana.

“It was Kiptum who was driving towards Eldoret,” he added, adding that he had lost control of the vehicle. “A female passenger was injured and was rushed to hospital,” he said.

An eternal marathon comet

Kiptum made a thunderous irruption into the marathon world, beating the world record for the discipline in Chicago last October (2 h 00 min and 35 sec), pulverizing the time of his compatriot Eliud Kipchoge by 34 seconds, for third place. marathon of his career alone. He had also won the previous two, in Valencia in 2022 and London in 2023. The Kenyan had announced that he was going to try to become the first man to run an official marathon under the symbolic two-hour mark in Rotterdam on April 14.

“Kelvin Kiptum and his trainer Gervais Hakizimana died in a terrible car accident while returning to training camp,” detailed his agent, former Belgian athlete Marc Corstjens, announcing the “sad news” on Instagram. .

“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the death of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana,” reacted the president of the international athletics federation, Sebastian Coe, welcoming in a press release “an extraordinary athlete who leaves a extraordinary legacy. “We will miss him,” he concluded.

A “huge loss”

“It’s a huge loss,” said Kenyan double Olympic 800m champion (2012, 2016) David Rudisha, saying he was “shocked and deeply saddened” in a message on the social network X.

The Kenyan athletics federation also expressed its “deep sadness”, and the organizing company of the six major marathons (Boston, New York, Chicago, Berlin, London, Tokyo) said it was “devastated by the news”, in messages on X.

Kiptum lost his life not far from his training routes and his original village of Chepkorio, about forty kilometers from Eldoret, in the Rift Valley, a mecca for Kenyan long-distance running. He was coached by Rwandan Gervais Hakizimana, who met Kiptum in 2013 during his training stays in Kenya before becoming his full-time coach in 2020.

This death recalls the sudden death of another great Kenyan marathon runner, Samuel Wanjiru, at the same age in 2011, almost three years after his Olympic title in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics. Police concluded it was murder, saying the athlete had fallen from a balcony before being hit in the head with a “blunt object”. Kenyan athletics was mourned in October 2021 by the murder of one of its long-distance running hopes Agnes Tirop, found stabbed at the age of 25 in her house in Iten, not far from Eldoret. Her husband is being prosecuted for murder.

Source link -78