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World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Given A State Funeral

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President William Ruto pays his last respects to World Marathon champion Kelvin Kiptum who was buried at his Elgeyo Marakwet home on February 23, 2024 following a road accident on February 11, 2023 that killed him and his Rwandese coach. /PCS

Thousands gathered in the Kenyan highlands on Friday to bid farewell to the athletics legend Kelvin Kiptum.

Kiptum’s life was tragically cut short at the tender age of 24, alongside his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, in a road accident on Feb. 11.

The ceremony was held in Kiptum’s hometown of Chepkorio, Elgeyo Marakwet County, located approximately 397 kilometers (247 miles) northwest of Nairobi. The service was live-streamed across the nation, and Kenyan President William Ruto delivered a moving eulogy praising Kiptum’s extraordinary talent and dedication.

“His death has united the whole world; he was ambitious, disciplined, and focused,” said the president, noting that the legendary athlete’s talent was inspirational. “In Kelvin, we saw the future of athletics in Kenya. He was not only a great athlete but also a good person.”

President Ruto pays last respect to the late Kiptum.

Ruto was joined by top government dignitaries, fellow athletes, family, and fans to honor and commemorate the champion’s life collectively. Kiptum’s teammates and rivals shared their memories, painting a picture of a humble and kind individual who brought joy to the sport.

Legendary runner and the president of the national Olympics committee in Kenya, Paul Tergat, paid tribute to his fellow athlete, speaking of his exceptional talent and the inspiration he brought to the sport.

“Kevin was one of the most unique athletes Kenya has ever had. Our sportsmen and women need more support to explore their talent,” said Tergat.

The ceremony was filled with traditional Kenyan music and dance. Kiptum will be laid to rest in a private ceremony with his close family at his rural home on Friday following the memorial service.

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Kelvin Kiptum blazed a meteoric path in the marathon world. His career was short but bright, marked by three marathon victories, including two World Marathon Majors, in record-breaking times.

The late athlete was the reigning marathon world record holder, having surpassed the mark at the 2023 Chicago Marathon with a time of 2:00:35.​​​​​​​


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