ELDORET, Kenya – Ugandan authorities are investigating the tragic death of Olympic athlete Benjamin Kiplagat, who was found with a fatal knife wound to his neck inside a car on the outskirts of Eldoret, a town in Kenya’s Rift Valley. Kiplagat, a 34-year-old Kenyan-born runner, had represented Uganda in the 3,000m steeplechase at numerous international events, including the Olympic Games and World Championships.
His body was discovered on Saturday night, sparking an intense investigation led by local police commander Stephen Okal. “An investigation has been launched and officers are on the ground pursuing leads,” Okal told reporters in Eldoret. The severity of Kiplagat’s neck wound suggests that he was stabbed, according to authorities.
Kiplagat’s death comes in the wake of the killing of Kenyan distance running star Agnes Tirop in October 2021. Tirop, 25, was found stabbed to death at her home in Iten, a training hub near Eldoret. Her husband Ibrahim Rotich has since gone on trial for her murder.
The tragic deaths of Kiplagat and Tirop have left the running community shaken, as both athletes had achieved remarkable success in their careers. Kiplagat won the silver medal in the 3,000m steeplechase at the 2008 World Junior Championships and bronze at the Africa Championships in 2012. Tirop was a double world 10,000m bronze medallist and 2015 world cross country champion who finished fourth in the 5,000m at the Tokyo Olympics.
The circumstances surrounding these deaths have raised concerns about the safety and security of athletes, especially in training hubs like Eldoret where many athletes reside and train. The ongoing investigations aim to provide answers and justice for the families and legacies of Kiplagat and Tirop, who both made significant contributions to the world of athletics.
In conclusion, the athlete community mourns the loss of two talented individuals, both of whom left lasting impressions on the world stage of running. The investigation into Kiplagat’s death and the trial related to Tirop’s murder serve as stark reminders of the potential dangers athletes may face, even in the pursuit of their remarkable achievements.