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Kenya marathon star Kiptum died from head injuries: examiner

By AFP
Kenya Kelvin Kiptum burst onto the marathon scene in 2022 with a stunning debut in the 26.2-mile 42.195-km distance in Valencia.  By Tony KARUMBA AFPFile
FEB 21, 2024 LISTEN
Kelvin Kiptum burst onto the marathon scene in 2022 with a stunning debut in the 26.2-mile (42.195-km) distance in Valencia. By Tony KARUMBA (AFP/File)

Kenyan marathon prodigy Kelvin Kiptum, who was killed in a car crash, died of severe head injuries, a medical examiner said on Wednesday but toxicology tests were still under way.

The world marathon record-holder died on February 11 at the age of 24 in the accident near his home in the Eldoret area of Kenya's Rift Valley.

"We found that the late Kelvin had severe head injuries and there were severe fractures which were mainly at the base of the skull," chief government pathologist Johansen Oduor said.

Kiptum had also suffered multiple broken ribs and had injuries to his lungs, Oduor said.

"We have taken samples for further analysis because the circumstance of the death is still being investigated."

Police said Kiptum was driving around 11:00 pm (2000 GMT) when his car careered off the road and hit a tree.

His Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana, 36, also died in the accident while another passenger, a woman, was injured.

The samples "will undergo a full toxicology analysis where we can see if there could be anything that could have contributed to his being involved in a motor vehicle accident," Oduor said.

Kiptum, a father of two, will be buried on Friday at the family home in Chepsamo near Eldoret.

Ahead of the funeral, a requiem mass will be held on Thursday at Kiptum's former school while a candle lighting ceremony in his honour will be organised in the capital Nairobi.

Police said Kiptum was driving around 11:00 pm 2000 GMT when his car careered off the road and hit a tree.  By - AFPFile Police said Kiptum was driving around 11:00 pm (2000 GMT) when his car careered off the road and hit a tree. By - (AFP/File)

Hakizimana was laid to rest in Rwanda on Wednesday, a day after a vigil was held at his family home.

Kiptum burst onto the marathon scene in 2022 with a stunning debut in the 26.2-mile (42.195-km) distance in Valencia where he clocked 2hr 01min 53sec.

He shattered the world record in Chicago in October last year, slicing 34 seconds off the previous fastest time set by his Kenyan rival, Eliud Kipchoge.

The young athlete had competed in only three marathons and recorded three of the all-time fastest seven times for the event.

He was the favourite to take gold at the Paris Olympics, where he was expected to go head-to-head with Kipchoge for the first time.

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