Monday, February 12th, 2024 10:59 | By
Following the tragic death of world marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum in a road accident, President William Ruto and World Athletics President Sebastian Coe have joined the chorus of tributes pouring in from around the globe.
Ruto hailed Kiptum as a shining star and one of the world’s finest sportsmen with remarkable mental strength.
Message to Kiptum’s family
In a heartfelt statement, Ruto expressed condolences to Kiptum’s family and the sporting fraternity, acknowledging the indelible mark the 24-year-old had left on the global stage.
“Kelvin Kiptum was a star. Arguably one of the world’s finest sportsmen who broke barriers to secure a marathon record. He was only 24 yet, as a hero, triumphed in Valencia, Chicago, London and in other top competitions.
“His mental strength and discipline were unmatched. Kiptum was our future. An extraordinary sportsman has left an extraordinary mark in the globe. Our thoughts are with the family and the sporting fraternity. Rest In Peace,” Ruto said in a statement.
Similarly, Coe conveyed his shock and sadness at the loss of Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, in the accident.
Coe highlighted Kiptum’s incredible athleticism and the legacy he had forged, particularly noting the historic marathon world record set in Chicago.
He extended heartfelt condolences to their families, friends, teammates, and the Kenyan nation.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana. On behalf of all World Athletics we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation.
“It was only earlier this week in Chicago, the place where Kelvin set his extraordinary marathon World Record, that I was able to officially ratify his historic time. An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly,” Coe statement revealed.
First Lady Rachel Ruto also mourned Kiptum’s passing, describing him as a symbol of resilience, hard work, and the indomitable spirit of the Kenyan people.
“We are heartbroken to learn of the tragic passing of Kelvin Kiptum, a rising star in the world of marathon running, alongside his coach, Gervais Hakizimana. Kelvin was a symbol of resilience, hard work, and the indomitable spirit of the Kenyan people.
“His dedication to his craft and his pursuit of greatness inspired countless individuals, both in Kenya and around the world. I extend my deepest condolences to the families, friends, teammates, and the entire Kenyan nation. Kelvin’s memory will live on in the hearts of all who knew him, and his legacy will continue to inspire generations to come. Rest in peace. You will be dearly missed,” Rachel said.
Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka echoed the sentiments of grief and loss, highlighting Kiptum‘s status as one of the fastest-rising stars in Kenya’s athletics scene.
“The news of the untimely passing of Kelvin Kiptum deeply saddens us. 24 year old Kiptum was one of the fastest rising stars in Kenya’s indeed the world’s athletics scene. His potential was limitless. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kiptum’s family, indeed the larger Athletics family at this most difficult time.”
Here are the messages from other leaders:
Rigathi Gachagua: It is deeply disheartening to learn of the untimely passing on of World Marathon Record Holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana in a tragic road accident last night on Kaptagat-Eldoret Road. Young Kiptum- an astounding star- flew the Kenyan flag extremely high, scooping and bringing glory to our Nation, confirming to the world that, indeed, we are the source of champions in Athletics. His World Record of 2 hrs 35 seconds was just ratified a few days ago making this loss even more painful. At only 24 years, he was set to push himself even higher during the coming Rotterdam Marathon in April, where he was expected to attempt to run under 2 hours. I join other Kenyans in mourning our Marathon Hero. May God grant the family and friends the grace to bear this huge loss.
Kipchumba Murkomen: My deepest condolences go out to the family, friends, and the entire athletics fraternity following the tragic death of Kelvin Kiptum. Kelvin’s passing at only 24 has left a void in the world of marathon running, where he was just beginning to showcase his exceptional talent. His remarkable achievements, including surpassing Eliud Kipchoge’s record during the 2023 Chicago Marathon, marked him as a rising star in the sport. Alongside Kipchoge, Kelvin was poised to represent Kenya in the upcoming Paris Olympics, embodying the nation’s formidable presence in marathon running. The loss of Kelvin and his coach, Rwanda’s Gervais Hakizimana, is deeply felt throughout the athletic community, serving as a stark reminder of the fragility of life.
Gladys Shollei: I am devastated by the loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach. The memory of hosting him and other athletes for lunch at my Kitusuru home is a bittersweet reminder of his infectious joy and the promising future he embodied. Rest in peace, Kiptum.
London Marathon: We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear the terrible news of the death of marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana. The thoughts of everyone at the TCS London Marathon are with Kelvin’s and Gervais’ family and friends.
Amason Kingi: What a tragedy! The death of World marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach in a road accident along the Eldoret-Kaptagat Road last night should serve as a strident wake-up call that something isn’t right on our roads. This calls for a serious national conversation on what needs to be done to stop the trail of deaths on our roads and urgently! I join the families of the deceased and all Kenyans at this moment of grief and pray that the souls of the two heroes rest in peace.
Wavinya Ndeti: HEARTBREAKING NEWS I have learnt with deep sorrow the death of Kelvin Kiptum, who until his demise was the World Marathon record holder. This loss is a big blow to Kenya and the entire athletics fraternity globally. We will miss you Kiptum, a young confident marathoner who was hoping for a very bright future in athletics. May God console his family and all Kenyans during this tough time of grief as we mourn Kiptum and his coach who perished with him in a road accident.
Kiptum, at only 24, was already a World Marathon Record Holder, with a whole horizon to conquer.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the athletics fraternity.
Musalia Mudavadi: I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach. His remarkable talent and unwavering dedication to athletics inspired countless individuals. He made an indelible mark not only through his achievements but also through mentorship and leadership, guiding aspiring athletes to reach their full potential. The legacy he leaves behind is a testament to passion and commitment to excellence. During this difficult time, my thoughts and prayers are with their family, friends and teammates. May you find comfort in the cherished memories you shared and strength in the support of one another.