Husband of Agnes Tirop arrested after Kenyan Olympian and world record holder found dead

·2-min read
Agnes Tirop of Kenya smiles after winning the women's 1500m race at the IAAF Diamond League meeting at Stockholm Olympic Stadium in Stockholm, Sweden. Kenyan runner Agnes Tirop, a two-time world championships bronze medalist, has been found dead at her home in Iten in western Kenya, the country's track federation said Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021 - TT News Agency
Agnes Tirop of Kenya smiles after winning the women's 1500m race at the IAAF Diamond League meeting at Stockholm Olympic Stadium in Stockholm, Sweden. Kenyan runner Agnes Tirop, a two-time world championships bronze medalist, has been found dead at her home in Iten in western Kenya, the country's track federation said Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021 - TT News Agency

Police have arrested the husband of one of the world’s best female distance runners who was stabbed to death in Kenya.

Agnes Tirop was found dead at her home in Iten in western Kenya on Wednesday, a town renowned as a training base for distance runners.

The 25-year-old finished fourth over 5,000 metres at this summer’s Olympics before breaking the women-only 10km road race world record last month. She twice won world 10,000m bronze medals.

In a statement on Twitter, Kenya's National Police Service said Tirop's husband Ibrahim Kipkemoi Rotich had been arrested in the coastal city of Mombasa.

The statement read: "The husband of Agnes Tirop, the long distance runner heroine recently murdered at her home, has been arrested.

"The suspect, one Ibrahim Kipkemoi Rotich, is currently held at Changamwe Police Station awaiting transfer to Iten where he's expected to face prosecution.

"He was arrested together with Silas Chilla Chellile and are both helping the police with investigations. John Kipkoech Samoe was earlier arrested for complicity in the murder."

'A Kenyan hero'

Kenya has long been a distance-running powerhouse, with Tirop tipped to follow in the ranks of multiple Olympic and world champions as her career progressed.

“Kenya has lost a jewel who was one of the fastest-rising athletics giants on the international stage, thanks to her eye-catching performances on the track," said Athletics Kenya.

Tirop first had international success as a junior athlete, winning world junior 5,000m bronze in 2011 and 2014, as well as world junior cross country silver in 2013.

She stepped up to the senior stage in 2015, when she unexpectedly won the world senior cross country title aged 19 to become the second-youngest woman ever to claim gold after Zola Budd.

Consecutive world 10,000m bronze medals followed in 2017 and 2019, before she narrowly missed out on the podium over 5,000m at this summer’s Olympics, finishing less than a second outside of the medals as Holland’s Sifan Hassan won gold. She last competed on the road over 10km in Geneva earlier this month, where she finished second.

Kenya president Uhuru Kenyatta said: “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, had brought our country so much glory."

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