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Athletics: Tributes pour in as marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum dies in car crash

Tributes have poured in from the world of sport for marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum, who was killed in a car accident on Sunday at the age of 24.

The Kenyan long-distance runner, who became the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours and a minute in Chicago last October, died when the car he was driving was involved in a collision in Kaptagat, south-west Kenya, at around 11pm local time.

His coach Gervais Hakizimana was also pronounced dead at the scene, while a third person was taken to hospital.

He also won the London Marathon in 2023 with a record time of two hours, one minute and 25 seconds.

At the 2022 Valencia Marathon, Kiptum set the record for the fastest debut marathon in history, crossing the line in a course record of two hours, one minute and 53 seconds.

Event director of the London Marathon Hugh Brasher said in a statement: “Kelvin had the sport of marathon running in his feet and at his feet. He was a ‘once in a generation’ athlete who was set to redefine the boundaries of our sport.

“Three marathons, three wins. The fastest marathon debutant in Valencia, London’s course record holder and the world record holder in Chicago, all within the space of less than 12 months.

“His was a flame that burned so bright and last night was tragically put out.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Mo Farah, who wrote on X: “I’m so sad to hear the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.

“Kelvin was an amazingly-talented athlete and had already achieved so much. He truly had a special talent and I have no doubt he would have gone on to have had an incredible career.

“I send all my sympathies and condolences to his and Gervais’ family and friends at this tragic time.”

Meanwhile, World Athletics president Sebastian Coe tweeted: “On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, team-mates 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.”

Kiptum’s compatriot – the 2016 and 2020 Olympic marathon champion – Eliud Kipchoge wrote: “I’m deeply saddened to hear about the tragic loss of Kelvin Kiptum.

“My heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends and the entire athletic community. May his memory be a source of comfort and strength during this difficult time.”

Kiptum was due to compete at the Rotterdam Marathon in April, which would have been his first event since setting the world record.

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