Kiptum funeral brought forward

The funeral for world marathon record-holder Kelvin Kiptum, who was killed in a car crash, has been brought forward to tomorrow, Kenya’s athletics federation said.

Kiptum’s death at the age of 24, just a few months after he smashed the world marathon record and before the Paris Olympics, shocked his home country and the world of athletics.

“Kelvin will be laid to rest on Friday, 23rd February, 2024 at his home in Chepkorio Village, Elgeyo Marakwet,” Athletics Kenya said in a statement.

Last week, officials had said he would be buried on February 24, with the government promising a “heroic farewell” to the young marathon star.

A Kenyan athletics official told AFP on Tuesday the funeral would be a “state function” with President William Ruto in attendance.

It was brought forward because Ruto would be attending the funeral of Namibian president Hage Geingob at the weekend, the official added.

Kiptum, a married father of two, was killed in a late-night car accident on February 11 near his home in Eldoret, the high-altitude training hub in the Rift Valley, western Kenya.

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

Hakizimana was laid to rest in Rwanda yesterday following a vigil at his family home on Tuesday, according a programme of service.

Kiptum had burst onto the marathon scene only in 2022, and recorded three of the all-time seven fastest times for the event in the three marathons he competed in.

He ran the Chicago marathon in October in two hours and 35 seconds, shattering the previous record set by his Kenyan rival Eliud Kipchoge by 34 seconds.

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.

“The only way to honour my brother Kiptum is by winning the 2024 Olympic marathon and bringing the victory home,” Kipchoge posted on X last week.

Kiptum was the latest in a number of Kenyan athletes to have lost their lives in recent years. Lawmakers have called for better support and protection for the country’s sporting talent. — AFP.

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