Revealed: How Kelvin Kiptum stood with Super Eagles in his final hours

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FOOTBALL Revealed: How Kelvin Kiptum stood with Super Eagles in his final hours

Festus Chuma 21:32 - 22.02.2024

Marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum's last day celebrated supporting Nigeria's Super Eagles in the Africa Cup of Nations.

The late world marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum's final moments were spent in high spirits rallying for Nigeria in their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) match against Ivory Coast.

Kiptum, who tragically lost his life in a road accident nearly two weeks ago, was a beacon of hope and inspiration not just in his home village of Chepsamo but across the globe.

On that fateful Sunday evening, Kiptum was among the enthusiastic crowd at Well Irish Pub and Restaurant in Eldoret, watching the English Premier League match where his favorite team, Manchester United, emerged victorious against Aston Villa.

The joy of the win was short-lived as Kiptum and his Rwandese coach, Garvais Hakizimana, met their untimely demise later that night.

But it was his support for the Super Eagles in their journey to the AFCON final that left an indelible mark on those close to him.

In a conversation with his mother, Mary Kangongo, hours before the accident, Kiptum expressed his unwavering support for Nigeria.

"He was always joking - we spoke on the night of his death and he was joking about the Africa Cup of Nations final.

He told me that I should support Nigeria but I told him I wouldn't be watching football as it was on too late," Kangongo recounted to the BBC.

Kiptum's death has sent shockwaves through Chepsamo, where he lived with his wife and two children.

Known for his dedication on and off the track, he was in the process of building a family home on land he had recently purchased.

In a moving gesture, the government has begun constructing a house for his widow and a separate one for his parents, honoring the legacy of a national hero.

With the country gearing up for a grand funeral service set to take place at the local primary school in Chepsamo, attended by dignitaries including President William Ruto and World Athletics President Sebastian Coe, Kiptum's memory is celebrated far and wide.

Kiptum was driving a Toyota Premio with two passengers on board — Hakizimana and a woman identified as Sharon Kosgey — heading to Eldoret on the night of February 11.

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