Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Kenyan Athlete Found Dead

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics star had just become the world record holder in September after she won the 10km road race in a time of 30:01 during the Adizero Road to Records event in Herzogenaurach, Germany. 

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Kenyan Athlete Found Dead

UPDATE 17.16: President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered police to track down and bring to book the suspects behind the killing of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games star Agnes Tirop.

This is as he joined Kenyans in mourning the death of the 25-year-old who was part of the triumphant Kenyan contingent to this year's delayed sporting showpiece where she represented the country in the 5,000m race and finished 4th in the final.

In a message of condolence and comfort to the family, friends, relatives, and the athletics fraternity, the President mourned Agnes as a Kenyan hero and champion whose death is a big blow to the country's sporting ambitions and profile.

"It is even more painful that Agnes, a Kenyan hero by all measures, painfully lost her young life through a criminal act perpetrated by selfish and cowardly people," the President said and directed the police to hasten the search and apprehension of the athlete's killers.

"I urge our law enforcement agencies led by the National Police Service to track down and apprehend the criminals responsible for the killing of Agnes so that they can face the full force of the law," the Head of State directed.

Kenya's 5,000m women's representative to Tokyo 2020 Olympics Agnes Tirop has been found dead

According to reports, Tirop was found dead in her house in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County, with wound stabs in her abdomen.

She was alleged to have been stabbed by her ex-husband.

"We are still working to unearth more details surrounding her demise," read a statement by Athletics Kenya seen by Viral Tea.

Undated photo of Agnes Tirop after winning a past athletics event. /TWITTER

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics star had just become the world record holder in September after she won the 10km road race in a time of 30:01 during the Adizero Road to Records event in Herzogenaurach, Germany. 

At the age of just 19, Tirop become the youngest winner of the World Cross since Zola Budd in 1985, the second-youngest gold medalist in World Cross Country Athletics history.

She was also the junior champion at the African Cross Country Championships in 2014. 

The world 10,000m bronze medalist holds a 5000m record of 14:50.36. She had clinched a bronze medal in the 10,000 metres event at the 2017 World Championships.

Tirop first rose to prominence at the national level in 2012, when she was runner-up to world junior champion Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon at the Kenyan Cross Country Championships. This led to her first national selection and international medal at the 2012 African Cross Country Championships where she came second again to Kipyegon and took the junior silver medal.

She was Kenya's most prominent entrant for the 5000 metres at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Athletics and finished with a bronze medal in a personal best of 15:36.74 behind Ethiopian opposition.

Tirop was again second to Kipyegon at the 2013 Kenyan Cross Country Championships and the teamwork between the duo played a big role in ensuring Kenya's 1–2 finish and team title at the 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

Kipyegon defended her title while Tirop was a narrow second to claim her first medal at the competition. She made progress on the track that year, setting personal bests of 8:39.13 minutes for the 3000 metres and 14:50.36 minutes for the 5000 metres, and also on the road marathons with a half marathon best of 71:57 minutes.

In the 2014 season, she finally emerged from Kipyegon's shadow to win the Kenyan cross country junior title and then dominated the junior race at the 2014 African Cross Country Championships, leading the Kenyans to victory by a 14-second margin (Kipyegon won both senior races).

She was however unable to achieve such a margin over African runner-up Alemitu Heroye at the 2014 World Junior Championships in Athletics and was again third in the 5000 m, a race which saw the Ethiopians stretch Kenya's gold medal drought in that event.

Netherlands' Sifan Hassan (right) crosses the finish line to win the race ahead of second-placed Kenya's Agnes Jebet Tirop (left) in the women's 5000m heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 30, 2021. /AFP