Kenyan long distance runner and world bronze medallist Agnes Jebet Tirop has been found stabbed to death at her home, with her husband named by local police as a suspect in their murder investigation.
Athletics Kenya released a statement on Wednesday morning which reported she was discovered in her house in Iten, a town in the west of the country where many athletes train.
Tom Makori, head of police for the area, said: “When [officers] got in the house, they found Tirop on the bed and there was a pool of blood on the floor. They saw she had been stabbed in the neck, which led us to believe it was a knife wound, and we believe that is what caused her death.
“Her husband is still at large, and preliminary investigations tell us her husband is a suspect because he cannot be found. Police are trying to find her husband so he can explain what happened to Tirop.”
Makori added that CCTV at the property could help the inquiry.
Tirop won 10,000m bronze at both the 2017 and 2019 World Athletics Championships, and won gold at the 2015 World Cross Country Championships. Last month, Tirop smashed the women-only 10km world record in Germany, crossing the line in 30:01 to shave 28 seconds from the previous record held by Morocco’s Asmae Leghzaoui from 2002.
Kenyan 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.
“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. I urge our law enforcement agencies to track down and apprehend the criminals responsible for the killing of Agnes so that they can face the full force of the law.”
In its statement, Athletics Kenya said it was “distraught” by the news. “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.
“Just last month, she broke the women-only record in the women’s 10km at Road to Records Race in Germany, timing 30:01 … Tirop’s decorated CV also includes a World Cross Country title in 2015 during which she made history as the second youngest medallist at that level.
“She also won the African Cross Country Championship in 2014 in Kampala, Uganda, as well as the World Junior Cross Country Championship in 2013 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
“We pray that God may grant strength to family and friends at this difficult time.”