Kenya’s Kelvin Kiptum, the world record holder in the men’s marathon, tragically lost his life in a road accident alongside his coach, Rwanda’s Gervais Hakizimana, in western Kenya.
Kiptum, 24, emerged as a rising star in the marathon world in 2023, challenging the dominance of his compatriot Eliud Kipchoge, one of the sport’s greatest athletes. His breakthrough came in Chicago last October, where he surpassed Kipchoge’s achievements by completing the 26.2 miles in a remarkable time of two hours and 35 seconds.
Both Kiptum and Hakizimana were named in Kenya’s provisional marathon team for the Paris Olympics later this year, reflecting their status as elite athletes in the sport.
Tributes poured in for Kiptum from across the globe, with Kenyan Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba expressing profound grief over the loss of a “special gem” and Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, hailing Kiptum as “an incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy.”
The tragic accident occurred late on Sunday when the vehicle, driven by Kiptum, lost control and rolled over, resulting in the fatalities of both Kiptum and Hakizimana. A female passenger sustained injuries and was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
Kiptum’s ascent to fame was rapid, marked by impressive performances in major marathons. He set records and made history, showcasing a unique tactical approach that distinguished him from his peers. Despite his relatively short career, Kiptum’s impact on the sport was profound, inspiring admiration and respect from athletes and fans worldwide.
Hakizimana, Kiptum’s coach and mentor, played a pivotal role in his journey to success. Their bond transcended the coach-athlete relationship, rooted in years of dedication and mutual admiration. Hakizimana’s guidance and support were instrumental in Kiptum’s remarkable achievements, reflecting the profound impact of their partnership.