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Agnes Tirop: Husband arrested in Kenya after athlete's death

By BBC Africa
Athletics Agnes Tirop: Husband arrested in Kenya after athlete's death
OCT 15, 2021 LISTEN

Police in Kenya have arrested the husband of record-breaking long-distance runner Agnes Tirop who was stabbed to death at her home.

Emmanuel Rotich, who was detained in the coastal city of Mombasa, will face charges once investigations are completed, an official said.

Ms Tirop, 25, was found dead on Wednesday in the western town of Iten, a training centre for top athletes.

She had finished fourth in this year's Tokyo Olympic 5,000m final.

In 2019, she had won the 10,000m bronze at the 2019 World Athletics Championships.

Tributes have been pouring in for Ms Tirop from fellow athletes.

"She was an amazing young girl who was really working hard to be one of the top athletes in the world," Julius Yego, Kenya's former athletics captain, told the BBC World Service's Newsday programme.

"She wanted to be the best and it was only a few weeks ago that she broke the world record for the 10km. Her successful career was still being crafted but unfortunately, someone decided the whole story cannot be written."

During her career, Ms Tirop had success as both a junior - winning 5,000m bronze at world championships in 2012 and 2014 - and as a senior, winning the World Cross Country championships in 2015.

At the World Athletics Championships in 2017 and 2019, she won bronze in the 10,000m before finishing 0.75 seconds outside the medal places at the Tokyo Games two months ago.

Last month, she set a new world record of 30 minutes and one second, in Germany, for the 10km road race.

On Thursday, Athletics Kenya - the country's governing body - suspended all athletics competition for two weeks as a mark of respect for Ms Tirop.

"We just lost a great talent. She was such a strong woman and committed to what she was doing," said Mr Yego.

Asked how he would remember her, the Olympic javelin silver medallist replied: "A young lady who was so peaceful, so humble, always smiling."

"You would never know when she was sad or angry," he said, adding she had been incredibly "focussed on her training and her career".

"We had a difficult day yesterday - it is still shocking. When you check on social media or TV, it is the sad news of Agnes. We are still collecting ourselves."

On Wednesday, both the president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe and his counterpart at the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, spoke about the loss of Ms Tirop.

Former double Olympic champion Coe described her as "one of the world's best female distance runners over the past six years".

"Athletics has lost one of its brightest young stars in the most tragic circumstances," he added. "This is a terrible blow to the entire athletics community, but especially to her family, her friends and Athletics Kenya.

"I send them all our most heartfelt condolences."
Last month, Tirop set the 10km road race world record at the headquarters of her sponsors Adidas in Germany, with the sportswear giants also posting their condolences on social media.

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