By: Jesse Abisheck Email: email@example.com
Eliud Kipchoge was set to face his counterpart, Olympic world Marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum, in the 2024 Paris Olympics scheduled to kick off from July 26th to 11th august in France.
Kiptum achieved the fastest-ever marathon debut at the 2022 Valencia Marathon, becoming only the third man in history to break two hours and two minutes and setting the then fourth-quickest time ever. He followed this up four months later with the second-fastest marathon in history at 2:01:25, just 16 seconds outside the world record, at the 2023 London Marathon (WMM). In his subsequent race, the 2023 Chicago Marathon (WMM) six months later in October 2023, the 23-year-old broke the world record by 34 seconds with a time of two hours and 35 seconds.
The rival Kiptum, winner of the London and Chicago Marathons, bettered Kipchoge’s old mark with a time of 2:00:35 on October 8 in the American city. Although the two men had never faced each other in competition, they were scheduled to compete against each other in Paris Olympics before the tragic death of Kevin Kiptum.
On a somber note, on Sunday around 11 PM, the country received sad news of Kevin Kiptum’s death in a road accident alongside his coach from Rwanda. According to a police report, Kelvin Kiptum was driving when he veered off the road, entered a ditch, and hit a tree along Eldoret-Kaptagat Elgeyo Marakwet road. Kiptum and his coach from Rwanda died in the accident, while Sharon Kosgey, another occupant in the vehicle, escaped with minor injuries and was rushed to Racecourse Hospital for treatment. The bodies of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach were taken to MTRH Mortuary.
Since Kiptum broke his marathon record, Kenyans were wondering why Eliud Kipchoge had never congratulated him. Kiptum had announced that he would be facing Kipchoge in the Paris Olympics in France. Today, Eliud Kipchoge, on his X account (formerly Twitter), mourned the death of Kevin Kiptum: “I am deeply saddened by the tragic passing of the marathon world record holder and rising star Kevin Kiptum. An athlete who had a whole life ahead of him to achieve incredible greatness. I offer my deepest condolences to his young family. May God comfort you during this trying time,” Kipchoge posted.
Kenyans wasted no time in criticizing Kipchoge for not congratulating his colleague since he set the new marathon record. Here are some Kenyan reactions on X (KOX):
“You didn’t congratulate Kelvin Kiptum when he broke the marathon record, but now you have the audacity to send a condolence message?” asked @mjengoKE. “You never congratulated him while he was alive, and now you’re here sending your condolences?” stated @ngafocus. On the other hand, X user @SrAlbertK wondered why people would not give flowers while one can still smell them: “I don’t understand why people don’t give you flowers while you can still smell them.” “@_javanda” said, “Eliud Kipchoge never congratulated Kelvin Kiptum for breaking the world record. Kiptum’s win was ratified a few days ago, and now he’s dead. Your guess is as good as mine 🤔.” “@bozgadi” told Kipchoge he will never see heaven, as he termed his condolences message as fake: “You never congratulated him when he broke your Marathon Record, and now you have the guts to type ‘Rest in peace Kelvin, You will never see heaven, Kipchoge. Your condolences are fake. I am here to tell you for free’.” “The world will one day know the whole truth about Kiptum’s death,” @Kiptoocheruyoit stated.