Pauline Njoroge defends Eliud Kipchoge in the late Kelvin Kiptum ‘rivalry’
The athletics fraternity in Kenya and the world are mourning the tragic death of Kelvin Kiptum who passed away following a tragic road accident that occurred at around 11 pm on February 11, 2024.
He and his training coach, Rwandan Gervais Hakizimana, died in the self-involved accident along the Elgeyo Marakwet- Ravine Road while a third female passenger was rushed to hospital in critical condition.
As condolence messages continue to roll in for the late Kiptum- who only received his ratification from World Athletics last week as the world marathon record holder- an alleged rivalry between the deceased and the world’s greatest of all-time marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge- the previous world marathon record holder before Kiptum beat him- was dredged up by a section of Kenyans.
For those who are saying he didn't congratulate him pic.twitter.com/XQaDYUwOEt
— Precious (@Preciou10791677) February 12, 2024
This rivalry stemmed from assumptions that Kipchoge failed to publicly congratulate Kiptum for beating his marathon record, and hot guns were aimed at Kipchoge for months afterwards.
Kipchoge never responded to the vitriol following Kiptum’s success and the brouhaha died down.
With this tragic death, the alleged rivalry is once again being brought up by Kipchoge’s critics while a section of Kenyans, including Jubilee Party’s Deputy Organizing Secretary Pauline Njoroge, continue to defend Kipchoge as a decent, humble man unlike how haters try to portray him.
Ms Njoroge had no words to mince for those who propagated a rivalry that never existed, reminding them that Kipchoge had predicted that Kiptum would break his record before the deceased broke the world marathon record.
“We are a very peculiar people. A majority of us knew Kelvin Kiptum after he broke the world record. But Eliud Kipchoge knew him well and even predicted that he would break the world record. This attempt to create enmity between Eliud and his associates with Kiptum is most unfortunate. I say so because the only grounds those peddling such a narrative have is that Eliud did not “congratulate” Kiptum upon him breaking Eliud’s record.
But is this true? Of course not. Eliud congratulated Kiptum when the talented marathoner won the London Marathon. However, he didn’t offer congratulations through a post on social media. He did that in an interview.
“And in an interview before, Eliud said that Kiptum was most likely to break his record. He described Kiptum not only as talented but also as a person with a big heart. After Kiptum broke Eliud’s record, Eliud again in a press conference showered accolades on the young talent.
“He had spotted Kiptum much earlier, seen his potential and tipped him for greatness. The way he described Kiptum shows that he was not only following his journey closely but was also his fan and cheerleader.
Every year, there are more than 6 world major marathons staged. Kipchoge as a rule does not do more than 3 races in a year. His record can be broken in any of these races.
“How exactly can he prevent people from running and attempting to break his records? It’s a very painful and emotional moment losing Kiptum. It is like a story that had just begun, and then death tore the pages all away.
“As we mourn this hero, let us not create enmity where we have no evidence that it exists. Let us not be careless with people’s reputations, for likes on social media. Today it will be Eliud, tomorrow it might be you,” said Ms Njoroge on February 12, 2024.