One of the world’s best female distance runners has been found stabbed to death at her home in Kenya, with police treating her husband as a suspect after he went missing.
Agnes Tirop, 25, finished fourth over 5,000 metres at this summer’s Olympics before breaking the women-only 10km road race world record last month. She has twice won world 10,000m bronze medals.
A criminal investigation is now underway into her death, with police confirming her husband is a suspect.
“When [police] got in the house, they found Tirop on the bed and there was a pool of blood on the floor,” said Tom Makori, head of police for the Iten region in Kenya.
“They saw she had been stabbed in the neck, which led us to believe it was a knife wound, and we believe that is what caused her death.
“Her husband is still at large, and preliminary investigations tell us her husband is a suspect because he cannot be found. Police are trying to find her husband so he can explain what happened to Tirop.”
'A Kenyan hero'
Kenya has long been a distance-running powerhouse, with Tirop tipped to follow in the ranks of multiple Olympic and world champions as her career progressed.
“We are still working to unearth more details surrounding her demise,” said Athletics Kenya. “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.”
Tirop first had international success as a junior athlete, winning world junior 5,000m bronze in 2011 and 2014, as well as world junior cross country silver in 2013.
She stepped up to the senior stage in 2015, when she unexpectedly won the world senior cross country title aged 19 to become the second-youngest woman ever to claim gold after Zola Budd.
Consecutive world 10,000m bronze medals followed in 2017 and 2019, before she narrowly missed out on the podium over 5,000m at this summer’s Olympics, finishing less than a second outside of the medals as Holland’s Sifan Hassan won gold. She last competed on the road over 10km in Geneva earlier this month, where she finished second.
Kenya president Uhuru Kenyatta said: “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, had brought our country so much glory.
“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.
“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 so that they can face the full force of the law.”Internet Explorer Channel Network