Police in Kenya hunt husband of record-breaking distance runner and Olympic star Agnes Jebet Tirop after she was found stabbed to death in her bedroom
- Agnes Tirop, 25, was found stabbed to death at her house in Iten, Kenya, today
- She was found with stab wounds to her abdomen, according to local reports
- Kenyan police have named her husband Emmanuel Rotich as a suspect in death
- Olympic athlete finished fourth in Tokyo and set a 10km world record last month
Kenyan police are hunting for the husband of Olympic athlete Agnes Jebet Tirop who was found stabbed to death in her bedroom in Kenya in a case that has shocked her home country and the world of athletics.
Tirop’s husband Emmanuel Rotich was named by police as a suspect in the death of the 25-year-old world medalist, who finished fourth in the 5,000m race in Tokyo.
The athlete was discovered on Wednesday with stab wounds to her abdomen in the bedroom of her home in Iten in Western Kenya, a high-altitude training hub for many top-class athletes.
‘We are closing in on the manhunt for the killer,’ Keiyo North police commander Tom Makori said on Thursday, adding that police were tracking down Rotich’s phone signal.
‘The sooner we get him to reveal the circumstance that led to the murder of the young girl, the better for all of us. We are under pressure to catch him.’
Kenyan police are hunting for Emmanuel Rotich, (right) the husband of Olympic athlete Agnes Tirop (left) who was found stabbed to death at her home in Kenya
Tirop’s husband Emmanuel Rotich (pictured together) was named by police as a suspect in the death of the 25-year-old world medalist, who finished fourth in the 5,000m race in Tokyo
Kenyan Olympic athlete Agnes Tirop, 25, was found dead with stab wounds to her abdomen at her house in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County on Wednesday (pictured in 2019)
A crime scene remains in place at her house as police investigate the circumstances surrounding her death.
The promising long-distance athlete represented Kenya at the Tokyo Olympics this summer in the 5,000m, narrowly missing out on bronze medal as she finished in fourth place in a season’s best time of 14:39.62.
And just last month, she set a new world record in the women-only 10km race at the Road To Records event in Germany on September 12, crossing the line in 30:01, beating the previous time by 28 seconds.
After the race she said: ‘I am so happy to break the world record. The pace was tough but I felt my body was responding well.’
In the Tokyo Olympics this summer, Tirop advanced to the final of the women’s 5,000m where she finished in fourth place.
Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan won the gold medal, with Hellen Obiri from Kenya coming in second place and Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay crossing the line in third place in a time of 14:38.87 – less than a second off Tirop.
The star athlete also won bronze medals at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships in the 10,000m, and won gold the 2015 World Cross Country Championships when she was just 19-years-old.
The promising long-distance athlete represented Kenya at the Tokyo Olympics this summer in the 5,000m, finishing in fourth place (pictured, centre, during the Olympic heats)
A crime scene remains in place at Tirop’s house as police investigate the circumstances surrounding her death
Her tragic death was confirmed by Barnaba Korir, the chairperson of Athletics Kenya in Nairobi Region.
In a heartfelt statement on social media, he wrote: ‘Athletics Kenya are this afternoon distraught to learn about the untimely death of World 10,000m bronze medalist Agnes Tirop.
‘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.
‘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.
‘Just last month, she broke the women-only record in the women’s 10km at Road to Records Race in Germany, timing 30:01.
‘Last week, she finished an impressive second, timing 30:20 at the Valencia Half Marathon.
‘Tirop’s decorated CV also includes a World Cross Country title in 2015 during which she made history as the second youngest medalist at that level.
‘She also won the Africa Cross Country Championship in 2014 in Kampala, Uganda as well as the World Junior Cross Country Championship in 2013 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
‘We pray that God may grant strength to family and friends at this difficult time.’
Last month, Agnes set a new world record of 30:01 in the women-only 10km race at an event in Germany, beating the previous time by 28 seconds (pictured in 2020)
Her tragic death was confirmed by Barnaba Korir, the chairperson of Athletics Kenya in Nairobi Region, in a heartfelt statement on social media
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta also paid tribute to the young athlete, who would have turned 26 later this month, and urged the police to track down those behind her death.
‘It is unsettling, utterly unfortunate and very sad that we’ve lost a young and promising athlete who, at a young age of 25 years, she had brought our country so much glory through her exploits on the global athletics stage,’ he said in a statement.
‘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,’ he said.
The US embassy in Nairobi also expressed its condolences, describing Tirop as ‘a figure of hope for women in sports’.
On Saturday, another Kenyan long-distance athlete Hosea Mwok Macharinyang, a member of the country’s record-breaking world cross country team, died of what Kenyan athletics officials said was suicide.
Macharinyang, 35, had competed for Kenya in both cross country and 5,000m and 10,000m races.
He won three consecutive titles for Kenya in the World Cross Country Championships from 2006 to 2008.
Kenya is the most successful nation in the cross country championships, having won 49 team and 27 individual titles.
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