Ugandan athlete Benjamin Kiplagat found dead in Kenya

Kiplagat’s body was found with a knife wound to his neck, suggesting he was murdered, according to the local police.

Benjamin Kiplagat
A 2012 photo of Uganda's Benjamin Kiplagat competing in the men's 3000-metre steeplechase during the London Olympic Games [Franck Robichon/EPA]

Ugandan athlete Benjamin Kiplagat has been found dead in Kenya, police say, with Uganda’s Daily Monitor and other media outlets in Kenya reporting he had been stabbed to death.

The Kenyan-born Kiplagat, 34, had represented Uganda internationally in the 3,000-metre steeplechase, including at several Olympic Games and World Championships.

His body was discovered in a car on the outskirts of Eldoret, a town situated in the Rift Valley, on Saturday night.

Eldoret is known for being home to numerous athletes who undergo training in the high-altitude region.

“An investigation has been launched and officers are on the ground pursuing leads,” local police commander Stephen Okal told reporters in Eldoret on Sunday.

He said Kiplagat’s body had a deep knife wound to his neck, suggesting he was stabbed.

‘Shocked and saddened’: condolences pour in

“World Athletics is shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Benjamin Kiplagat,” the global athletics governing body said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

“We send our deepest condolences to his friends, family, teammates and fellow athletes. Our thoughts are with them all at this difficult time.”

Peter Ogwang, state minister for sports in Uganda, expressed similar sentiments on X.

“I send my deepest condolences to his family, Ugandans, and the entire East Africa for the loss of such a budding athlete who has on several occasions represented us on the international scene,” he said.

Media reports said Kiplagat had been training in the Eldoret area before going to Uganda to participate in athletics competitions.

Kiplagat, whose running career spanned about 18 years, won the silver medal in the 3,000-metre steeplechase at the 2008 World Junior Championships and bronze at the Africa Championships in 2012.

He made the semi-finals of the event at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and competed in Rio in 2016.

His death follows the killing in October 2021 of Kenyan distance running star Agnes Tirop, who was found stabbed to death at the age of 25 in her home in Iten, a training hub near Eldoret.

Her husband, Ibrahim Rotich, went on trial for her murder last month. The 43-year-old has denied the charge against him and was freed on bail just before the trial opened.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies