There is a somber mood in the elite athletics fraternity following news of Tokyo 2020 Olympian Agnes Tirop, 25. The Kenyan long-distance runner who represented her country in the 5000m and finished in 4th position was killed in what is suspected to be a domestic fight with her husband, according to reports in Nairobi.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday by Athletics Kenya (AK), Tirop was found dead at her home in Iten, Marakwet County, after she was “allegedly stabbed.”
Local reports indicated that Tirop was found lifeless, with stab wounds in her abdomen and lying in a pool of blood. It is alleged that neighbours rushed to her home after hearing altercations throughout the night. However, by that time her husband who is a police officer was out of the home and had switched off his phones and vanished without trace by press time.
Her passing was also confirmed by her agent, Gianni Demadonna.
The 25-year-old won bronze medals in the 10,000m at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships and finished 4th in the 5,000m at the Tokyo Games.
Last month, Tirop made history by taking 28 seconds off the long-standing, women-only world record for 10km at the Adizero Road To Records event in Germany.
Tirop finished in a time of 30:01 breaking the previous record of 30:29 which had been set by Moroccan Asmae Leghzaoui in 2002.
Following the race, she said: “I’m so happy to have broken the world record. I felt the pace was good. The course was very good, too.”
At the 2015 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Tirop became the second-youngest ever gold medalist in the women’s race after Zola Budd.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is among the multitudes of people that paid tribute to the departed athlete. “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 including in this year’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics where she was part of the Kenyan team in Japan,” he said in a statement released Wednesday.
The Sammy Wanjiru case
Tirop’s death opens wounds that were caused to the athletics world by the sudden demise of former Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru in 2011.
Wanjiru is said to have committed suicide after he reportedly jumped from the balcony of his house followed a long period of domestic issues with his wife Tereza.
Domestic problems have continued to wreck the lives of elite Kenyan athletes, with the latest being 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop, whose much publicized split from his wife nearly cost him his life following a gun brawl with his estranged wife.