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Kelvin Kiptum Road Accident: Five Kenyan Athletes Who Died In Tragic Circumstances

A future superstar and a strong contender for the gold medal at Paris Olympics 2024, Kelvin Kiptum was not the first Kenyan athlete to die in a road accident. There have been several incidents of the nation's athletes losing their lives to mishaps over the years

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File photo of Kelvin Kiptum celebrating his Chicago Marathon world record victory in Chicago's Grant Park in October 2023. Photo: Eileen T. Meslar /Chicago Tribune via AP
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The tragic passing away of marathon world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum has distressed sports lovers across the globe. The 24-year-old Kenyan was among the most promising athletes to emerge in the discipline in recent times, and was tipped to be a strong contender for the gold medal at Paris Olympic Games 2024. (More Sports News)

But his life was cruelly cut short in a car crash in Kenya, where he was killed along with his Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana. Mourning the loss, World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said Kiptum was "an incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly".

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“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana,” Coe wrote. “On behalf of all World Athletics we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation.”

But Kiptum was not the first Kenyan athlete to die in such unfortunate circumstances. There have sadly been several incidents of the nation's athletes losing their lives to mishaps over the years. Let us take a look at five such cases.

Nicholas Bett (1990-2018)

The former world 400m hurdles champion died in a car crash in 2018, aged 28. Nicholas Bett died on the spot after the car he was driving veered off the road and landed in a ditch. He was the first Kenyan to win a gold medal at the World Athletics Championships in a race shorter than 800m in Beijing.

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Samuel Kosgei (1986-2023)

Samuel Kosgei, who broke the 25km world record in Berlin in 2010, passed away in 2023 following a hit-and-run by a passenger vehicle. He died on the spot, and the 2022 Daegu International Marathon in South Korea was his last professional appearance.

Francis Kiplagat (1990-2018)

Marathon runner Francis Kiplagat was one of four people who lost their lives in a road accident in 2018 at Kikopey area, along the Nakuru-Nairobi Highway. The then 27-year-old was on his way back from Eldoret from Nairobi, where he had gone to collect his visa.

Kenneth Muriithi (1987-2020)

Steeplechase specialist Kenneth Muriithi succumbed to a head-on collision with a Toyota Land Cruiser in 2020. He represented Kenya at the 2018 Africa Senior Athletics Championships in Asaba, Nigeria in 3,000m steeplechase.

David Lelei (1971-2010)

The former 800 metres medallist and 1,500 metres world champion, David Lelei died in a car crash in 2010, as his vehicle collided with a trailer on the Nakuru-Nairobi Highway. Former world 10,000m champion Moses Tanui survived the accident with severe injuries.

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