Tragedy struck the world of athletics on Sunday as Kenya’s marathon sensation, Kelvin Kiptum, along with his coach, met with a fatal accident in the Rift Valley. The promising career of the 24-year-old, who held the prestigious title of the marathon world record holder, was abruptly cut short, leaving the athletics community in mourning.
Kiptum made history at the Chicago Marathon, shattering records with an astounding time of 2:00:35, surpassing the previous mark set by his compatriot Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:09). With three of the seven fastest marathon times to his name, Kiptum had set his sights on achieving the monumental feat of running the marathon in under two hours under race conditions and also making his Olympic debut in Paris.
The news of Kiptum’s tragic demise sent shockwaves through the athletics world, prompting heartfelt condolences from World Athletics President Sebastian Coe and other dignitaries. Coe hailed Kiptum as an extraordinary athlete who leaves behind an indelible legacy, expressing deep sorrow at the loss.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana,” Coe said in a statement.
“On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, team mates and the Kenyan nation.
“An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly.”
The fatal accident occurred late evening in the Rift Valley, where Kiptum was driving alongside his Rwandan coach and a companion. Both Kiptum and his coach died on the spot, while a third occupant, Sharon Kosgey, sustained severe injuries and is undergoing treatment at a local hospital.
As news of Kiptum’s untimely passing spread, tributes poured in from across Kenya, with prominent politicians and government officials expressing profound sadness. Former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga mourned the loss of the athletics icon, extending heartfelt condolences to Kiptum’s loved ones and the entire athletics fraternity. Similarly, Kenya’s Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba lamented the tragic loss, describing Kiptum as a cherished gem and a true hero of the nation.
“Kenya has lost a special gem. Lost for words,” he posted on X.