Renowned Kenyan athlete, Eliud Kipchoge, has joined other Kenyans in mourning the death of marathon champion Kelvin Kiptum, who passed away on Sunday night.
Kiptum, aged 24, and his coach, Rwandan national Gervais Hakizimana, tragically lost their lives in a serious accident on the Eldoret-Kaptagat road, a short distance from his hometown of Chepsamo in western Kenya.
In a statement on Monday morning, Kipchoge mourned Kiptum as a rising star and expressed sorrow at his tragic death.
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of the World Marathon Record Holder and rising star Kelvin Kiptum,” Kipchoge said on social media. “He was an athlete with his whole life ahead of him to achieve remarkable greatness,” he added.
The former world record holder also took the opportunity to offer his condolences to the family of the 24-year-old athlete who broke his previous record.
“I extend my heartfelt condolences to his young family. May God comfort them in this time of trial,” Kipchoge wrote.
Kiptum broke the marathon world record in October last year when he clocked 2:00:35 at the Chicago Marathon, becoming the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours and one minute. He set a new record by shaving 34 seconds off Eliud Kipchoge’s previous time of 2:01:09.
While mourning Kiptum on Monday morning, Deputy President William Ruto described him as a star who broke barriers to achieve the marathon record.
“Kelvin Kiptum was a star. Undoubtedly, he is one of the world’s greatest athletes who broke barriers to achieve the marathon record,” mourned Ruto. “At just 24 years old, as a hero, he conquered Valencia, Chicago, London, and other top competitions. His mental strength and discipline were unparalleled. Kiptum was our future.”
The Commander-in-Chief noted that despite passing away at a very young age, Kiptum has left a significant mark on the world.
He also took the opportunity to comfort the family of the marathon champion and all stakeholders in the sports industry.
“A remarkable athlete has left an extraordinary mark on the world. Our thoughts are with the family and the sports fraternity. Rest in peace,” he said.