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Kenyan politicians mourn athletics icon Kelvin Kiptum

By Winnie Onyando February 12th, 2024 3 min read

Kenya’s athletics fraternity was plunged into mourning following the untimely death of marathon sensation Kelvin Kiptum.

The 24-year-old world record holder lost his life in a fatal car accident along the Elgeyo Marakwet-Ravine road on Sunday night, February 11, 2024.

The news of Kiptum’s passing sent shockwaves through the nation, with tributes pouring in from athletes, politicians, and sports enthusiasts alike.

Double Olympic champion David Rudisha expressed his shock and sorrow, extending heartfelt condolences to Kiptum’s family, friends, and the entire Kenyan nation.

Taking to X, Rudisha wrote, “I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana. My condolences to the families, friends, athletic fraternity and Kenya at large. This is a huge loss.”

Also read: Details of the fatal accident of World Marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum

President William Ruto hailed Kiptum as a star and a true hero, highlighting his exceptional talent and remarkable achievements in the world of marathon running.

“Kelvin Kiptum was a star. Arguably one of the world’s finest sportsmen who broke barriers to secure a marathon record. He was only 24 yet, as a hero, triumphed in Valencia, Chicago, London and in other top competitions. His mental strength and discipline were unmatched. Kiptum was our future.An extraordinary sportsman has left an extraordinary mark on the globe. Our thoughts are with the family and the sporting fraternity. Rest In Peace,” Dr Ruto said on X.

First Lady Mama Rachel Ruto said, “We are heartbroken to learn of the tragic passing of Kelvin Kiptum, a rising star in the world of marathon running, alongside his coach, Gervais Hakizimana. Kelvin was a symbol of resilience, hard work, and the indomitable spirit of the Kenyan people. His dedication to his craft and his pursuit of greatness inspired countless individuals, both in Kenya and around the world. I extend my deepest condolences to the families, friends, teammates, and the entire Kenyan nation. Kelvin’s memory will live on in the hearts of all who knew him, and his legacy will continue to inspire generations to come. Rest in peace. You will be dearly missed.”

Azimio leader Raila Odinga is also among the politicians who have extended heartfelt tributes mourning the passing of Kelvin Kiptum.

Expressing his condolences, Raila described Kiptum as a true hero and an icon in Kenyan athletics. He lamented the tragic loss of the world record holder and his coach, emphasising the profound impact of their untimely demise on the nation and the athletic fraternity.

Other political figures also joined in paying tribute to Kiptum. Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen acknowledged Kiptum’s exceptional talent and outstanding achievements in marathon running. He highlighted Kiptum’s remarkable feats, including surpassing Eliud Kipchoge’s record, and expressed sympathy to his family and the athletics community.

Also read: CONTROVERSY: Did London Marathon champion Kelvin Kiptum dump Qiadon sportswear for Nike?

Similarly, politician Kalonzo Musyoka expressed deep sorrow over Kiptum’s passing, recognising him as one of the fastest-rising stars in global athletics.

Speaker of the national assembly Moses Wetang’ula, wrote, “What a shock! What a tragedy! Kelvin Kiptum’s rising and shining star has been cruelly truncated through a tragic road accident.”

Gladys Boss Shollei, the Deputy Speaker, expressed her profound grief over the loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach. Reflecting on the fond memory of hosting them for lunch at her Kitusuru home, she described it as a memorable  reminder of Kiptum’s infectious joy and the bright future he represented. “I am devastated by the loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach. The memory of hosting him and other athletes for lunch at my Kitusuru home is a bittersweet reminder of his infectious joy and the promising future he embodied. Rest in peace.”

Machakos County Governor Wavinya Ndeti shared similar sentiments, “I have learnt with deep sorrow the death of Kelvin Kiptum, who until his demise was the World Marathon record holder. This loss is a big blow to Kenya and the entire athletics fraternity globally. We will miss you Kiptum, a young confident marathoner who was hoping for a very bright future in athletics. May God console his family and all Kenyans during this tough time of grief as we mourn Kiptum and his coach who perished with him in a road accident.”

Senator Methu Muhia lamented the tragic loss of Kiptum shortly after achieving the World Marathon record. “It’s sad that you have left us following a tragic accident just days after your World Marathon record was ratified. May you RIP Kelvin Kiptum.”

Dr Raymond Omollo, the Principal Secretary of the State Department for Internal Security and National Administration, joined in mourning Kiptum’s passing. He described Kiptum as a once-in-a-lifetime marathoner and record holder, highlighting his iconic status in the athletics community. “With a heavy heart, I join fellow Kenyans and the rest of the world in mourning the sudden passing on of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, in a tragic road accident. A once-in-a-lifetime marathoner and Record Holder, Kelvin will be remembered as an icon of the tracks.”