Father calls for investigation after shock claim after marathon champ Kelvin Kiptum’s death at 24

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The father of Kelvin Kiptum, the marathon world record holder who died at 24 on Sunday night, has called for an investigation into the shock death.

Kiptum’s father Samson Cheruiyot claimed that four men had come to his door days before his sons death and refused to identify themselves.

Kiptum, a married father of two, died in a car crash when he lost control of his Toyota Premio on Sunday night.

His Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana also died in the crash, while a female passenger was taken to hospital after suffering injuries.

However, Cheruiyot told Kenya’s Citizen TV that the government should investigate the mysterious men as he feels something was not right.

“They said they wanted him and now that this has happened I am wondering what they were looking for at the time,” he said.

“What did they want from my son because they refused to identify themselves?”

Kiptum smashed countryman Eliud Kipchoge’s world record at the 2023 Chicago Marathon, knocking 34 seconds off the world record as he cross the line in two hours and 35 seconds.

It was just Kiptum’s third marathon.

Kiptum’s widow Asenath Cheruto Rotich revealed that Kiptum had been at a training camp and was planning on returning on Monday.

He had also promised to take his family on an outing on Sunday but cancelled after suffering a headache.

Police said Kiptum and his coach were killed on the spot while a woman passenger was injured.

“He lost control and veered off-road entering into a ditch on his left side. He drove in the ditch for about 60 metres before hitting a big tree,” said an official police report.

Images on Kenyan media showed the mangled wreck of the vehicle, its windscreen shattered, the roof and doors buckled and almost ripped off.

From herding goats just a decade ago, Kiptum had announced he would attempt in April to become the first man to run an official marathon under the mythical two-hour mark.

Tributes poured in for Kiptum, including from Kipchoge, who said he was “deeply saddened”.

Kipchoge, regarded as one of the greatest marathon runners of all time, described his younger rival as a “rising star”.

“An athlete who had a whole life ahead of him to achieve incredible greatness,” Kipchoge said on X.

Kiptum and 39-year-old Kipchoge were expected to face off for the first time at the Paris Olympics.

Kenyan President William Ruto described Kiptum as “one of the world’s finest sportsmen who broke barriers to secure a marathon record”.

“An extraordinary sportsman has left an extraordinary mark in the globe,” he said on X.

World Athletics said Kiptum’s Valencia debut was the fastest in history and mourned the loss of “one of the most exciting new prospects to emerge in road running in recent years”.

“An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly,” said its president Sebastian Coe, who last week had been in Chicago to officially ratify Kiptum’s historic time.

“We had been looking forward to welcoming him into the Olympic community at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and seeing what the fastest marathon runner in the world could achieve,” International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said on X.

Ten years ago, barely a teen, Kiptum herded goats and sheep and then began following Hakizimana and other runners as they trained in the legendary high-altitude Eldoret region.

By 2019, Kiptum ran two half-marathons in two weeks in Europe. He began training with Hakizimana, who stayed in Kenya when the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

Kiptum’s death is the latest in a saga of tragedies to hit Kenya’s athletics hopefuls.

In 2011, Kenyan marathon great Samuel Wanjiru died at the same age in a mysterious accident at his home after capturing the title at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In 2021, distance running star Agnes Tirop was found stabbed to death at the age of 25 at her house in Iten, near Eldoret.

Her husband Ibrahim Rotich went on trial for her murder in November last year.

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