On Wednesday October 13, two-time world championship bronze medalist Agnes Tirop was found dead in her home in Kenya. The Olympic runner was discovered with stab wounds near her abdomen.
“There are revelations which came from her husband’s family,” according to Elgeyo Marakwet County police chief Tom Makori. Her husband, Ibrahim Rotich, was wanted for questioning after he called his family asking for God’s forgiveness. On October 14, Rotich was arrested after he was discovered in Mombasa. He was attempting to flee the country.
Police reported her car was found with outside her home with its widescreen and windows smashed. This indicated that a domestic dispute could have taken place. They believe the scene showed she was the victim of a “heinous crime. A “speedy and comprehensive investigation” was promised. Police were urged by Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, to track down and apprehend the criminal(s) responsible for the star’s killing.
Track fans might remember when Tirop’s career took off in 2015. She won the world cross-country title at the age of 19, becoming the second youngest champion ever in the event. Later on, Tirop went on to win the bronze medal in the women’s 10,000 meters at both the 2017 and 2019 world championships.
She also finished fourth in the 5,000 meters at the Tokyo Olympics. She held world records, breaking the world record in the women-only 10-kilometer road race in Germany.
“It is unsettling, utterly unfortunate and very sad that we’ve lost a young and promising athlete,” Kenyatta said in a statement. “It is even more painful that Agnes, a Kenyan hero by all measures, painfully lost her young life through a criminal act perpetuated by selfish and cowardly people.”
Given Tirop’s status as such a prominent star in the track world, the sentiments have come from across the world. “Athletics has lost one of its brightest young stars in the most tragic circumstances,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in a statement.
Kenya Athletics, the governing body of track and field, marathon, road races and cross countries in Kenya has halted all athletic competitions in honor of the late star.