Tributes pour in as the world mourns marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum

The world was on Monday united in grief and shock at the sudden demise of marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum who passed away in a gruesome road crash.

Kiptum and his Rwandese coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a tragic road accident on Sunday night in Kaptagat along the Elgeyo Marakwet-Ravine road.

Global leaders as well as sports personalities across the divide sent their condolences to the family and friends of the 24-year-old who set a new world record of 2:00:35 at the Chicago Marathon in October last year.

President William Ruto eulogized Kiptum as a star, noting that an extraordinary sportsman had left an extraordinary mark on the globe.

“Kelvin Kiptum was a star. Arguably one of the world’s finest sportsmen who broke barriers to secure a marathon record. He was only 24 yet, as a hero, triumphed in Valencia, Chicago, London and in other top competitions. His mental strength and discipline were unmatched. Kiptum was our future. An extraordinary sportsman has left an extraordinary mark in the globe. Our thoughts are with the family and the sporting fraternity. Rest in peace,” President Ruto said.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba bemoaned a life cut short and a bright star dimmed too soon.

“We were looking forward to him becoming the first athlete to run a sub-2:00. He was in line to make his bow at this year’s Summer Olympics in Paris. No one can describe the scale of pain his family is going through as a result of this loss,” Namwamba said.

World Athletics president Seb Coe also sent his condolences, saying that the sport has lost one of its brightest lights.
“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,” Coe said.

In a press statement, Athletics Kenya (AK) mourned the untimely demise of an athlete who was set to represent the country at this year’s Olympic Games in Paris.

“Remember, we released the probable list for the athletes to represent the country at this year’s Olympics in Paris. We had released 10 names for the men’s team and his name was at the top of that list. We had selected him to go run in Paris but unfortunately now, he is no longer with us,” AK president Jack Tuwei said in a statement released to the media.

Former world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge also sent his condolences, noting that his countryman was destined for the top.

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic passing of marathon world record holder and rising star Kelvin Kiptum. An athlete who had a whole life ahead of him to achieve incredible greatness,” the two-time Olympics marathon champion said.
Five-time Olympics champion Paul Tergat, on the other hand, described the latest turn of events as a monumental tragedy.

“Tragic and devastating news to wake up to the fact that our icon and world marathon record holder, Kelvin Kiptum is no more. My condolences to his family and that of Coach Gervais plus the athletics and sports fraternity for this moment of grief and mourning,” Tergat, the president of National Olympics Committee of Kenya (NOCK), said.

The world record holder for the men’s 800m David Rudisha was equally distraught.
“I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana. My condolences to the families, friends, athletics fraternity and Kenya at large. This is a huge loss,” Rudisha noted.
Beyond Kenyan borders, double world record holder Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda described Kiptum’s demise as a great loss for the athletics fraternity, castigating the cruel hand of death.

“I am so heartbroken and shocked to learn of the saddening news of the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana. My condolences to both families, friends and all athletics fans around the globe. Road accidents have robbed us of such great talent,” Cheptegei said.
Kiptum was crowned the World Athletics Male Athlete of the Year in December last year in addition to being bestowed the Order of Grand Warrior (OGW) honour by President Ruto in the same month.
He was preparing to compete in his first race of the year at the Rotterdam Marathon in the Netherlands in April.

Athletics Kenya

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