Kenya’s Agnes Tirop: ‘She was humble, focussed and smiling’

Tributes have been pouring in for Kenya’s Agnes Tirop, who was discovered lifeless on Wednesday, along with her former athletics captain Julius Yego amongst these main the way in which.

The 25-year-old was discovered stabbed to loss of life at her dwelling, with police naming her husband as a suspect.

When Tirop, who completed fourth on this 12 months’s Olympic 5,000m last, received 10,000m bronze on the 2019 World Athletics Championships, Yego was her crew captain.

“She was a tremendous younger woman who was actually working laborious to be one of many prime athletes on the earth,” Yego informed the BBC World Service’s Newsday programme.

“She wished to be the most effective and it was only some weeks in the past that she broke the world document for the 10km. Her profitable profession was nonetheless being crafted however sadly, somebody determined the entire story can’t be written.

Throughout her profession, Tirop had success as each a junior – profitable 5,000m bronze at world championships in 2012 and 2014 – and as a senior, profitable the World Cross Nation championships in 2015.

On the World Athletics Championships in 2017 and 2019, Tirop received bronze within the 10,000m earlier than ending 0.75 seconds exterior the medal locations on the Tokyo Video games two months in the past.

Final month, she set a brand new world document of half-hour and one second, in Germany, for the 10km street race.

“We simply misplaced an excellent expertise. She was such a robust lady and dedicated to what she was doing,” mentioned Yego.

Requested how he would bear in mind, the Olympic javelin silver medallist replied: “A younger girl who was so peaceable, so humble, at all times smiling.

“You’ll by no means know when she was unhappy or offended,” he mentioned, including she was extremely “focussed on her coaching and her profession”.

“We had a tough day yesterday – it’s nonetheless surprising. If you verify on social media or TV, it’s the unhappy information of Agnes. We’re nonetheless gathering ourselves.”

Hellen Obiri (right) racing against the Agnes Tirop at the Tokyo Olympics
Hellen Obiri (proper) beat compatriot Agnes Tirop within the Tokyo Olympics 5,000m last

‘Such a pleasant soul’

Eunice Sum, an 800m world champion in 2013, was a detailed pal of Tirop who noticed her physique when visiting her dwelling on Wednesday.

Like many in Kenya, together with President Uhuru Kenyatta, external-linkshe referred to as on police to seek out these chargeable for her loss of life.

“Agnes was a jovial, ever-smiling girl and I used to be trying ahead to seeing her operating within the close to future as a result of she was so proficient, even in street races,” Sum informed BBC Sport Africa.

“Seeing her physique was so hurtful for us. I hope Agnes will get justice. Relaxation in peace Agnes.”

Hellen Obiri, one in all Tirop’s rivals on the monitor, additionally had excessive hopes for Tirop.

The 31-year-old received Olympic 5,000m silver in Tokyo two months in the past, beating Tirop within the race, but she was totally anticipating her compatriot to take her distance mantle as she strikes as much as street operating.

“It was surprising information to me that Agnes isn’t any extra,” Obiri informed BBC Sport Africa. “I’ve raced with Agnes in so many races – not too long ago in Tokyo.”

“I hoped Agnes would take over from me (as the following monitor star) but it surely was an premature loss of life for her. Could she relaxation in everlasting peace.”

Messages of tribute and sympathy have are available from across the globe, in addition to nearer to dwelling.

“We’re deeply shocked to listen to the sudden loss of life of our fellow athlete Tirop Agnes,” Halima Nakayi, Uganda’s 800m world champion, posted on social media. “I ship my condolences to her household, mates and the Kenyan athletics group.”

“It is not simple to say goodbye to your ever smiling face,” mentioned fellow Ugandan center distance runner Winnie Nanyondo. “I can not consider that you just’re no extra – such a pleasant soul. It is so painful.”

World response

On Wednesday, each the president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, and his counterpart on the Worldwide Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, spoke in regards to the lack of Tirop.

Former double Olympic champion Coe described Tirop as “one of many world’s greatest feminine distance runners over the previous six years”.

“Athletics has misplaced one in all its brightest younger stars in probably the most tragic circumstances,” he added. “This can be a horrible blow to all the athletics group, however particularly to her household, her mates and Athletics Kenya.

“I ship all of them our most heartfelt condolences.”

In the meantime, Bach hailed Tirop as an inspiration in a submit on Twitter.

Final month, Tirop set the 10km street raceexternal-link world document on the headquarters of her sponsors Adidas in Germany, with the sportswear giants additionally posting their condolences on social media.

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