NAIROBI, KENYA | Xinhua | The athletics world Monday paid tribute to marathon record holder, Kelvin Kiptum, who died in a road accident alongside his Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana on Sunday night in northwest Kenya.
According to Elgeyo Market Police Commander Peter Mulinge, Kiptum was driving a sedan vehicle when it lost control and crashed along a road in Uasin Gishu County at around 11pm (20:00 GMT) on their way to his training camp in Kaptagat, killing him and his coach on the spot.
A third passenger – a woman identified by police as Sharon Kosgei – sustained serious injuries and was hospitalized in Eldoret.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana. On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe posted on X [formerly Twitter] as the country and world reeled in shock.
“It was only earlier this week in Chicago, the place where Kelvin set his extraordinary marathon world record, that I was able to officially ratify his historic time. An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly,” he added in his statement.
Fellow world record holder David Rudisha also took to the same platform to express his grief.
“I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Kiptum and his coach Hakizimana.
“My condolences to the families, friends, athletics fraternity and Kenya at large. This is a huge loss,” the two-time Olympics 800m champion and record holder wrote.
“The entire Abbott World Marathon Majors family is devastated by the news that our men’s series champion and world record holder Kiptum and his coach Hakizimana have passed away. All of our thoughts are with their family and friends at this time,” the Marathon Majors wrote about the two-time winner on the elite circuit, with Kiptum the reigning London and Chicago Marathon winner.
Similar messages were posted by London Marathon, Boston Marathon and New York Road Running – organizers of the New York Marathon
Kiptum, 24, died just six days after World Athletics ratified his 2:00:35 world record set at the 2023 Chicago Marathon last September.
At the time of his death, he was training to attack the sub two-hour marathon at the world record-eligible course in Rotterdam on April 23, having opted out of defending his London Marathon title where he set a course record of 2:01:25 last year.
He announced his arrival in elite marathon running in December 2022, aged 23, when he smashed the Valencia Marathon record by winning in 2:01:53 – becoming only the third man in history to break the 2:02 barrier over the distance.
Kiptum had been included in Kenya’s marathon men’s provisional squad for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, where he was lined up for a showdown against countryman and deposed record holder, two-time Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge.
He leaves behind a widow, son and daughter. ■
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