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Kenyan long-distance runner Agnes Tirop, a two-time world championships bronze medallist, has been found dead at her home, the country’s track federation has said.
Athletics Kenya said on Wednesday it had been informed of Tirop’s death. She was 25.
“Tirop was found dead at their home in Iten after she was allegedly stabbed by her husband. We are still working to unearth more details surrounding her demise,” Athletics Kenya said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“Kenya has lost a jewel who was one of the fastest-rising athletics giants on the international stage, thanks to her eye-catching performances on the track.”
— Athletics Kenya (@athletics_kenya) October 13, 2021
Kenyan media reported she was found with stab wounds in her abdomen and neck.
Elgeyo Marakwet County police chief Tom Makori said they were searching for Tirop’s husband after his family reported he had phoned them crying and asking for God’s forgiveness for something he had done, The Associated Press news agency reported.
Tirop’s car, which was parked outside the home, had its windscreen and windows smashed, which could indicate a domestic dispute before she was killed, police said.
Kenya’s National Police Service said Tirop was the victim of a “heinous crime” and promised “speedy and comprehensive investigations”.
Tirop won bronze medals in the women’s 10,000 metres at the 2017 and 2019 world championships and finished fourth in the 5,000 metres at the Tokyo Olympics.
Last month, Tirop broke the world record in the women-only 10-kilometre road race in Germany, crossing the line in 30:01 to shave 28 seconds off the previous record held by Morocco’s Asmae Leghzaoui since 2002.
Her career took off when she won the world cross-country title in 2015 at the age of 19 to become the second-youngest champion ever.
Her home in Iten, western Kenya, is a town renowned as a training base for distance runners.
“It is even more painful that Agnes, a Kenyan hero by all measures, painfully lost her young life through a criminal act perpetuated by selfish and cowardly people,” Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement.
“I urge our law enforcement agencies led by the National Police Service to track down and apprehend the criminals responsible for the killing of Agnes.”
International track governing body World Athletics said it was “deeply shocked and saddened” by Tirop’s death.