In a shocking turn of events, Kenyan Olympic runner and two-time world championship bronze medalist Agnes Tirop was found murdered at her home Wednesday in western Kenya in what police described as a “heinous crime.”
According to the Clinton Herald, Elgeyo Marakwet County police chief Tom Makori said they were searching for Tirop’s husband after his family reported he had phoned them crying and asking for God’s forgiveness for something he had done.
“There are revelations which came from her husband’s family,” Makori said.
A Champion Taken Too Soon
Tirop has two bronze medals in the women’s 10,000 meters (2017 and 2019 world championships) and finished fourth in the 5,000 meters at the Tokyo Olympics.
She broke the world record in the women-only 10-kilometer road race in Germany in September.
Tirop’s agent — Gianni Demadonna — also confirmed her passing by e-mail to CNN.
Her death is being deeply mourned throughout the sports world.
Kenyan athlete Agnes Jebet Tirop, who represented Kenya 🇰🇪 at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the 5000m, has been found dead in her house with stab wounds to her abdomen.
She was just 10 days away from her 26th birthday. Rest in peace Queen! pic.twitter.com/dbqACcTUG6
— Usher Komugisha (@UsherKomugisha) October 13, 2021
Tirop was an inspiration for a nation that is still suffering from racism, political dissidence, exploitation and economic strife, but is also one of the fastest growing countries (economically) on the continent.
According to the AP, Kenya’s National Police Service gave no further details on Tirop’s death other than to say it was investigating.
“NPS wishes to assure the public of speedy and comprehensive investigations into the heinous crime,” it said.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta urged police “to track down and apprehend the criminals responsible for the killing of Agnes.”
“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.”
International track governing body World Athletics also released a statement, saying it was “deeply shocked and saddened” by this murder.
The few details that have surfaced and been reported via the Kenyan track federation claims that the 25-year-old’s husband stabbed her in a tragic domestic attack.
Kenya is an African country known for its elite distant runners, and Tirop was one of the country’s superstars of track and field.
“Kenya has lost a jewel,” the federation said.
Athletics Kenya also released a statement.
Her career took off when she won the world cross-country title in 2015 at the age of 19 to become the second-youngest champion ever in the event.
More details are emerging in what seems to be a crime of twisted passion and another wakeup call for the world when it comes to allocating more resources toward protecting women and eradicating domestic violence.