Sports

‘This was murder’: Olympian runner stabbed to death

Ugandan athlete Benjamin Kiplagat has been murdered, police say.

The Olympian was found dead in Kenya with local media reporting he had been stabbed to death.

The Kenyan-born Kiplagat, 34, had represented Uganda internationally in the 3000m steeplechase, including at several Olympic Games and World Championships.

His body was found in a car on Saturday night on the outskirts of the Rift Valley town of Eldoret, which is home to many athletes who train in the high-altitude area.

“An investigation has been launched and officers are on the ground pursuing leads,” local police commander Stephen Okal told reporters in Eldoret.

He said Kiplagat’s body had a deep knife wound to his neck, suggesting he was stabbed.

He went on so say: “This was murder, but we do not know the motive for now”.

Athletics Kenya official Barnabas Korir has called on police to “speed up” their investigation.

Global athletics governing body World Athletics said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter: “World Athletics is shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Benjamin Kiplagat.

“We send our deepest condolences to his friends, family, teammates and fellow athletes. Our thoughts are with them all at this difficult time.”

Peter Ogwang, state minister for sports in Uganda, expressed similar sentiments on X.

“I send my deepest condolences to his family, Ugandans, and the entire East Africa for the loss of such a budding athlete who has on several occasions represented us on the international scene,” he said.

Media reports said Kiplagat had been training in the Eldoret area before going to Uganda to take part in athletics competitions.

Kiplagat, whose running career spanned about 18 years, won the silver medal in the 3,000m steeplechase at the 2008 World Junior Championships and bronze at the Africa Championships in 2012.

He made the semi-finals of the event in the 2012 Olympics in London and also competed in Rio in 2016.

His death follows the killing in October 2021 of Kenyan distance running star Agnes Tirop who was found stabbed to death at the age of 25 in her home in Iten, a training hub near Eldoret.

Her husband Ibrahim Rotich went on trial for her murder last month. The 43-year-old has denied the charge against him and was freed on bail just before the trial opened.

Tirop was a double world 10,000m bronze medallist and 2015 world cross country champion who also finished fourth in the 5,000m at the Tokyo Olympics.

She also smashed the world women-only record in the 10km road race in Germany in the month before her killing.

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