Kenyan runner and world record holder Agnes Tirop was found stabbed to death in her home. Her husband, Emmanuel Ibrahim Kipleting, is wanted as a suspect, authorities announced Wednesday.
Tirop, 25, was discovered by police at her home in Iten, Kenya — a town known as a training base for long distance runners — after her father had declared her missing on Tuesday night.
“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, a local police official. “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.”
Sources at The BBC claim that Agnes Tirop also sustained lacerations to the stomach.
Police official Tom Makori said that her husband, Emmanuel Ibrahim Kipleting, cannot be located, but is being treated as a suspect. He added that security footage recorded by the home’s CCTV system may also be relevant to the investigation, according to the BBC.
Athletic World Mourning Loss of Agnes Tirop
Athletics Kenya, the country’s track federation, mourned the death of Agnes Tirop in a statement on Wednesday.
“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,” the federation said. “We are still working to unearth more details surrounding her demise […] We pray that God may grant strength to family and friends at this difficult time.”
“It is unsettling, utterly unfortunate and very sad that we’ve lost a young and promising athlete,” said Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in a statement. “It is even more painful that Agnes Tirop, a Kenyan hero by all measures, painfully lost her young life through a criminal act perpetuated by selfish and cowardly people,” he said, encouraging police to “track down and apprehend the criminals responsible for the killing of Agnes so that they can face the full force of the law.”
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of our world record star Agnes Tirop, a gifted and indefatigable long-distance athlete who kept our flag flying globally” Kenyan Deputy President William Samoei Ruto said in a statement on Twitter. “She was hardworking, focused and resilient. Our thoughts and prayers to the family, the loved ones, and the sporting fraternity during this painful time. We are together in seeking to unravel the mystery of her death.”
World Athletics, the international governing body for track running, said it was “deeply shocked and saddened” by Tirop’s apparent murder.
Mike Sonko, a former member of Kenyan parliament, posted a picture on Twitter depicting Agnes Tirop and her husband, Emmanuel Ibrahim Kipleting.
A Rising Star’s Career Cut Short
Agnes Tirop was an Olympic athlete and two-time world championship bronze medalist.
She had just shattered the women’s 10km world record last month in Germany, shaving 28 seconds off the previous record set in 2002. “I’m so happy to have broken the world record,” she told reporters. “I felt the pace was good. The course was very good, too.”
“God has its time, thank you Lord,” she wrote on Instagram at the time. “Tomorrow is promising.”
At the Olympics in Tokyo this summer – her first appearance at the games – she finished fourth in the finals for women’s 5000m. A rising star, her Olympic showing was not expected to have been her last.
In 2015, Agnes Tirop became the second-youngest runner to win the world cross country title at just 19-years-old. She won the bronze medal in the World Athletics Championships in both 2017 and 2019, and most recently finished second in the Giants Geneva 10km in Switzerland earlier this month.