Kipchoge describes Kiptum death as 'unfortunate' ahead of Tokyo Marathon

ATHLETICS Kipchoge describes Kiptum death as 'unfortunate' ahead of Tokyo Marathon

Mark Kinyanjui 15:19 - 01.03.2024

Marathon icon Eliud Kipchoge has described the death of World record holder Kelvin Kiptum as "unfortunate" ahead of the 2024 Tokyo edition on Sunday.

Double Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge expressed his condolences for Kelvin Kiptum, the world record-holder who tragically lost his life in a car crash last month.

Kipchoge is gearing up for the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday, marking his first race since Kiptum's untimely death at the age of 24 on February 11.

Kiptum had recently surpassed Kipchoge's world record, and the two were anticipated to compete against each other for the first time at the upcoming Paris Olympics. 

The 39-year-old Kipchoge said it was "unfortunate that he left here".

"His career was in high spirits and he was really running on a high level," he said.

The fatal accident occurred in the Rift Valley, the epicenter of Kenyan distance running, where Kiptum's car veered off the road, resulting in the deaths of both Kiptum and his Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana. A female passenger sustained injuries in the incident, according to the police.

Reflecting on the impact of Kiptum's death, Kipchoge acknowledged that this year's Olympic marathon would be "a little bit different," given the high expectations surrounding their potential face-off.

Kiptum's breakthrough at the Chicago Marathon last October, where he set a time of two hours and 35 seconds, breaking Kipchoge's previous world record, added further excitement to their anticipated clash.

Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, the Chicago women's champion and Tokyo Marathon competitor, also expressed her grief over Kiptum's passing, highlighting his youth and the groundbreaking achievements he showcased to the world.

Returning to Tokyo for the first time since setting a course record in 2022 with a time of 2:02:40, Kipchoge faces strong competition from fellow Kenyans Vincent Ngetich, Timothy Kiplagat, and Benson Kipruto. 

Reigning Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion Hassan, competing in her third marathon, will contend with Ethiopia's world marathon champion Amane Beriso Shankule and last year's Tokyo champion, Rosemary Wanjiru of Kenya.

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