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Kenya: Athletics world bid final farewell as Kelvin Kiptum is laid to rest

A portrait of Kelvin Kiptum next to his casket is seen ahead of his burial, in Elgeyo Marakwet, Kenya, Friday Feb. 23, 2024.   -  
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Brian Inganga/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved


Relatives, friends and fellow athletes paid their last respects on Friday to Kenyan marathon world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum, who died in a car crash on Sunday.

Mourners queued to pass by Kiptum's casket and signed a memorial book during a funeral service held at Chepkoriro Show Ground.

“The day I met Kiptum in Monaco he was just like me, we were just smiling and having fun and when we got to interviews it was really fun. So, for me to think and think deeply that Kiptum is no more, it really hurt my heart.” Faith Kipyegon, current world record holder for 1500 meters said.

Kiptum and his Rwandan coach, Gervais Hakizimana, were killed in a crash near the town of Kaptagat in western Kenya last Sunday, in the heart of the high-altitude region that’s renowned as a training base for the best distance runners from Kenya and across the world.

Kiptum was one of the most exciting prospects to emerge in road running in years, having broken the world record in only his third appearance in an elite marathon.

His record, set at last year’s Chicago Marathon, was ratified by international track federation World Athletics just last week.

"I just feel that I have really lost because when Chicago marathon holds their world record holders champions he won’t be there in person but he will forever live in our hearts” says Catherine Ndereva, former marathoner.

Kenyan President William Ruto and Sebastian Coe, President of the international Association of Athletics Federation were both in attendance.

The men's marathon world record holder was later laid to rest at his farm in Naiberi, about 20km from Eldoret.

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