Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

RTL Today – Kenya feels the loss of marathon hero Kiptum as the Olympic Games approach

By Vaseline May31,2024

Kenya had hoped that late world record holder Kelvin Kiptum could break the two-hour barrier at the Paris Olympics, Kenya’s athletics chief said, calling his tragic death “devastating”.

Kiptum, a 24-year-old father of two, was killed in a late-night car accident on February 11, just months after setting a new marathon record in Chicago with a time of 2:00:35.

The shock of his loss was felt worldwide, leaving sports fans thinking about the last major milestone in modern athletics and what could have been in August at the 2024 Games.

“He was a young man; he was just coming up; he was only 24; and he had just broken the world record. And so everyone was really devastated,” Jackson Tuwei, president of Athletics Kenya, told AFP.

“What was so sad was that everyone expected him to do well at the Olympics and perhaps break the sub-two-hour marathon record,” the head of the national governing body said.

“Everyone was looking forward to having him in good shape so he could break another record.

“What we need to do now is follow up and see how we can support the family.”

Tuwei was in Geneva for the World Health Organization’s annual meeting along with Kenya’s 800m world record holder David Rudisha to campaign for clean air for athletes.

Although Kiptum only competed in three marathons – Valencia 2022, London 2023 and Chicago 2023 – he won them all and posted three of the seven fastest times in history.

Kenyan President William Ruto and World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe, plus top runners including Rudisha, attended Kiptum’s funeral in the country’s athletic heartland where he was born, trained and died.

– ‘More can be achieved’ –

“Kelvin was such a great athlete. He showed the world that more can be achieved,” Rudisha told AFP.

“He was very impressive. He came up in a very short time. No one really knew him that well until he broke the world record.

“It was really sad for Kenya because when we have athletes like that, who bring pride to our country – and especially in a year like this when he was at the top – we expected him to be able to win an Olympic medal.

“It was a big loss for Kenya and a big loss for the sport.”

Rudisha’s world record 800m time of 1:40.91, set at the 2012 London Olympics, has never been beaten. Six of the eight fastest 800m times in history were set by Rudisha.

And since 1979, only Britain’s Coe, Denmark’s Wilson Kipketer from 1997 and then Rudisha from 2010 have held the world record.

The now retired Rudisha, 35, said he was looking forward to the 800m race at the Paris Games.

“From Kenya we have Emmanuel Wanyonyi. Marco Arop from Canada. And I also saw a young boy Djamel Sedjati from Algeria running the world leading time in Ostrava. This is really great. We are looking forward to seeing how they do.” implement,” he said.

“Anything can happen at the Olympics. It’s always very competitive and everyone goes there to win. So there are a lot of expectations.”

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