Agnes Jebet Tirop of Kenya celebrates winning bronze in the women’s 10,000 meter final during the IAAF World Athletics Championships at Khalifa International Stadium on Sept. 28, 2019, in Doha, Qatar. (Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images for IAAF)
By Grant Atkinson October 14, 2021 at 9:18am
Two months after finishing fourth in the women’s 5,000 meters at the Tokyo Olympics, Kenyan distance runner Agnes Tirop was found dead in her own home.
According to the BBC, Tirop was living in Iten, Kenya, at the time of her death. Her father reported her missing on Tuesday, and police found her body the next day.
“When [police] got in the house, they found Tirop on the bed and there was a pool of blood on the floor,” local head of police Tom Makori said.
“They saw she had been stabbed in the neck, which led us to believe it was a knife wound, and we believe that is what caused her death.”
In addition, the BBC reported that Tirop, 25, suffered at least one stab wound to the abdomen.
Police have opened an investigation into Tirop’s death, and her husband has been named as a suspect. His disappearance has further complicated matters, the BBC reported.
“Her husband is still at large, and preliminary investigations tell us her husband is a suspect because he cannot be found,” Makori said.
“Police are trying to find her husband so he can explain what happened to Tirop.”
According to Sports Illustrated, Tirop broke the world record in the women’s 10K road race on Sept. 12, just one month before her death.
On Oct. 3, she finished second in a 10K road race in Switzerland. That would prove to be her last race.
“Athletics Kenya are distraught to learn about the untimely death of World 10,000m bronze medallist Agnes Tirop,” the country’s athletics body said in a statement.
“Kenya has lost a jewel who was one of the fastest-rising athletics giants on the international stage, thanks to her eye-catching performances on the track.”
Tirop’s first international medal came in 2012 at the junior level, where she took bronze in the 5,000 meters. She would repeat the feat in 2014.
In 2016, Tirop became the second-youngest woman to ever win gold in the World Cross Country Championships in China.
The 2020 Tokyo Games marked her first Olympic appearance.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said it was heartbreaking to lose a rising star at such a young age.
“It is unsettling, utterly unfortunate and very sad that we’ve lost a young and promising athlete who, at a young age of 25 years, [had] brought our country so much glory,” he said in a statement.
“It is even more painful that Agnes, a Kenyan hero by all measures, painfully lost her young life through a criminal act perpetuated by selfish and cowardly people.”