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Police arrest four people who visited marathoner Kelvin Kiptum’s home before his road crash

Police in Kenya’s Keiyo South arrested four people who visited men’s marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum’s house just four days before he died, local reports said.

Kiptum and his Rwandese coach Garvais Hakizimana died on Sunday evening in a road crash in the Kaptagat area along Elgeyo Marakwet road, police confirmed.

His father Samson Cheruiyot had mentioned a visit by four strangers at the top athlete’s home in Chepsamo village four days before the collision took place, Nation.Africa reported on Wednesday.

The four suspects were now in police custody and being questioned. They were initially held at Kaptagat police station in Elgeyo Marakwet County and have now been sent to Iten town for further questioning on their nature of visit by detectives.

Mr Cheruiyot had demanded an investigation into the four individuals, stating that they did not introduce themselves properly, the report added.

Of the four suspects, Mr Cheruiot positively identified three men at Kaptagat police station.

The vehicle used by suspects was also seized and is also held at the police station in Keiyo South, the report added.

The four individuals were earlier summoned by the Elgeyo Marakwet County Criminal Investigations officer for questioning, Nation.Africa reported.

Police added that Kiptum was the driver and the vehicle "lost control and rolled, killing the two on the spot".

A third passenger, who was female, was injured, AFP reported.

Kiptum won the London Marathon last year and went on to break compatriot Eliud Kipchoge’s world record at the Chicago Marathon in October in 2:00:35.

A father-of-two, the 24-year-old made his marathon debut in 2022, four years after competing in his first major competition, where he was forced to borrow shoes due to economic reasons, commenting later to the BBC: "I had no money to travel to track sessions.”

He was due to run this year’s Rotterdam Marathon in April, in what was promoted as an attempt to break the two-hour barrier in an official race for the first time following Kipchoge’s unofficial run in 1:59:40.2 in Vienna in 2019.

World Athletics president Seb Coe paid tribute to Kiptum: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.

“On behalf of all World Athletics we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation.

“It was only earlier this week in Chicago, the place where Kelvin set his extraordinary marathon World Record, that I was able to officially ratify his historic time. An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly.”

Kipchoge, the Kenyan great whose marathon record Kiptum broke in Chicago, paid tribute to his compatriot.

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic passing of the marathon world record holder and rising star Kelvin Kiptum,” Kipchoge said in a post on social media.

“An athlete who had a whole life ahead of him to achieve incredible greatness. May I offer my deepest condolences to his young family.”