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Africa
Kenyan marathon star falls to death
Olympic champion Samuel Wanjiru dead after balcony plunge, as police say they are still investigating whether he jumped.
Last Modified: 16 May 2011 05:36
Wanjiru was the youngest runner to win four major marathons: London, the Olympics and Chicago (twice) [EPA]

Samuel Wanjiru, Kenya's Olympic marathon champion, has died after falling from the balcony of his home in the town of Nyahururu, Kenya, police say.

Police said they were attempting to ascertain whether the 24-year-old Kenyan had deliberately killed himself by jumping off the balcony. They said that he had suffered internal injuries after the fall, late on Sunday, and was confirmed dead by doctors at a nearby hospital.

"I can confirm that Wanjiru is dead. It is not yet clear whether it was a suicide, if he jumped out of rage, or what caused him to fall to the ground," Jaspher Ombati, the regional police chief for the area, told Reuters.

Nyahururu is located in the Rift Valley, some 150km northwest of Nairobi, Kenya's capital.

"He jumped from his first floor balcony to the ground. He was bleeding from the nose and the mouth, and may have suffered internal injuries," the police chief said.

"Doctors at the district hospital tried to resuscitate him in vain," said Ombati.

Possible love triangle

Police say they are investigating the possibility of a 'love triangle' that could have been behind Wanjiru's death.

Ombati said Triza Njeri, Wanjiru's wife, had come home on Sunday to find him in bed with another woman. She then locked the couple in the bedroom and ran outside.

The police chief said that Wanjiru then leapt from the balcony. He added that Njeri and Wanjiru's companion are now assisting police in their investigation.

Wanjiru is a former winner of the Chicago and London marathons, and was the first Kenyan to win an Olympic gold in the marathon, setting an Olympic-record time of 2 hours, 6 minutes, 32 seconds in Beijing in 2008.

Last December, he was charged with threatening to kill his wife and for illegal possession of an AK-47 assault rifle.

Njeri later withdrew her accusation of attempted murder in court, saying that the couple had reconciled.

In January, Wanjiru suffered minor injuries in a car crash. In that incident, he had swerved to avoid an oncoming truck, hit a pot hole and rolled his vehicle.

Source:
Agencies
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