Long-distance runner Agnes Tirop, Kenya’s two-time World Championship bronze medallist, was found stabbed to death at her home, Athletics Kenya said on Wednesday (Oct 13).
The 25-year-old represented Kenya in the 5,000m event at the Tokyo Olympics and finished fourth in the finals after clocking 14:39.62.
She was found dead at her home in the high altitude training town of Iten in western Kenya.
“Kenya has lost a jewel who was one of the fastest rising athletics giants on the international stage, thanks to her eye-catching performances on the track,” Athletics Kenya said in a statement.
“Tirop was found dead… after she was allegedly stabbed by her husband. We are still working to unearth more details about her demise.”
Last month, Tirop smashed the women-only 10km world record in Germany, crossing the line in 30:01 to shave 28 seconds from the previous record held by Morocco’s Asmae Leghzaoui from 2002.
Tirop won bronze medals at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships in the 10,000m event. She also won the 2015 World Cross Country Championships and became the second-youngest ever gold medallist in the women’s cross country championships after South Africa’s Zola Budd.
“It is unsettling, utterly unfortunate and very sad that we’ve lost a young and promising athlete who, at a young age of 25 years, she had brought our country so much glory through her exploits on the global athletics stage,” Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement.
“It is even more painful that Agnes, a Kenyan hero by all measures, painfully lost her young life through a criminal act perpetuated by selfish and cowardly people.
“I urge our law enforcement agencies led by the national police service to track down and apprehend the criminals responsible for the killing of Agnes.”
On Saturday, another Kenyan long-distance athlete Hosea Macharinyang, a member of the country’s record-breaking world cross country team, died of what Kenyan athletics officials said was suicide.
Macharinyang, 35, was found in his home in West Pokot in western Kenya.
“He was such a brilliant athlete, committed to the sport where he competed for Kenya for many years in both cross country and the 5,000m and 10,000m races,” Jackson Pkemoi, the West Pokot representative of Athletics Kenya, said.
Macharinyang won three consecutive titles for Kenya in the World Cross Country Championships from 2006 to 2008.