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World marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum, coach die in car crash

IANS | February 12, 2024 12:14 PM

NEW DELHI: The 24-year-old Kenyan long-distance runner and the marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a road traffic accident.

The accident occurred on Sunday at 11 pm (local time) on the Eldoret-Kaptagat road, according to Elgeyo Marakwet County Police Commander Peter Mulinge.

Kiptum was driving a Toyota Premio with two passengers on board- Garvais and a lady identified as Sharon Kosgey heading to Eldoret, the Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation reported.

Sharon escaped with serious injuries and was rushed to Racecourse Hospital for medical attention, while the bodies of the athlete and his coach were taken to the Racecourse Hospital mortuary. The vehicle was badly damaged and was towed to Kaptagat Police Station, it added.

"This was a self-involved accident where one Kelvin Kiptum, the world marathon record holder, was driving his vehicle with two passengers. Kiptum and Hakizimana died on the spot and the third person was rushed to Racecourse Hospital in Eldoret, " the County Commander told the newspaper.

According to County Commander, Kiptum lost control of the vehicle, veered off the road, hit a big tree before landing in a ditch about 60 metres away.

Kiptum was one of the most exciting new prospects to emerge in road running in recent years. He grabbed headlines when he made his marathon debut in December 2022, clocking 2:01:53 to win in Valencia. Less than a year later, in just his third marathon, he smashed the world record with 2:00:35 to win in Chicago.

That performance, along with his victory earlier in the year at the London Marathon in a course record of 2:01:25, led him to be named 2023 World Athlete of the Year for men’s out-of-stadia events.

He made his international debut in 2019 while still a teenager, and clocked 59:54 to finish fifth at the Lisbon Half Marathon. Before moving up to the classic distance, Kiptum reduced his half marathon Personal Best to 58:42 at the 2020 Valencia Half Marathon. Between 2019 and 2021, Kiptum broke 60 minutes for the half marathon on six occasions.

He was in the Kenyan team picked for Paris Olympics.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, ” said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe. "On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation.

"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."

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