World U20 800m champion Emmanuel Wanyonyi, who is the fourth fastest athlete this year will be the star to watch at the Ostrava Golden Spike Meeting which is a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold level –series that will be held on Tuesday (31) at Vitovice Stadium in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Wanyonyi, a form four student at the AIC Kosirai High School in Nandi County, will be making his debut internationally after beating the Olympic silver medallist Ferguson Rotich early this month at the Kip Keino Classic that was held at the Kasarani stadium in Nairobi.
The 17 year-old who holds a championship record of 1:43.76 that he set last year will battle for honors with Olympic bronze medallist Patryk Dobek from Poland who comes to this race with a life time best of 1:43.73, that he got last year at the ORLEN Janusz Kusocinski Memorial,where he took the honors.
Wanyonyi will also face the 2012 Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos from Botswana who comes to this race with the sixth fastest time in the world of 1:43.73 that he got when he finished behind David Rudisha at the 2012 London Olympic Games where the latter set the world 800m record of 1:40.91. The two-time world medallist Amel Tuka from Bosnia and Herzegovina will also be fighting for the top honors.
European U20 record holder Max Burgin from Britain will be making his return to Ostrava Golden Spike after suffering an injury that has kept him away from active racing. The 20 year-old set his record of 1:44.14 at this meeting last year.
In the family living room, the television on which Agnes Tirop’s 95-year-old grandfather used to watch his talented granddaughter compete was now the one broadcasting her funeral.
A portrait of the smiling young woman, who just two weeks earlier had set a world record for a 10,000 metre race in Germany, sat next to it, beneath a pile of red and white roses.
Agnes’s funeral took place on Oct 23, the same day she would have turned 26. Under a white gazebo with ribbons in the colours of the Kenyan flag, thousands of mourners, including top athletes and government officials, gathered near her parents’ home in Nandi County – known as the “source of champions” for its reputation in producing the world’s best runners – to bid the athlete farewell.
Agnes, who was found stabbed to death at home in the Rift Valley of western Kenya, was a rising star in the country’s highly competitive running circuit, finishing fourth in the 5,000m at the Tokyo Olympics.
“It’s just crazy because I still picture her running that race in Germany when we were all cheering for her,” said Viola Cheptoo Lagat, sister of Bernard Lagat and an athlete in her own right, who watched Agnes’s record-breaking final win.
“She was really happy as she had achieved one of her life goals to break a world record. Now she had big dreams.”
While a police investigation is still ongoing, Tirop’s partner, Ibrahim Rotich – reportedly 20 years her senior – is in custody and the main suspect, according to the region’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Andolo Munga. “The autopsy report and the suspect’s confession note, together with the murder weapons – a knife and a wooden club (rungu), have given us overwhelming evidence, which points to murder,” he told the Nation.
Friends and family say they had recently learnt of Rotich’s emotional, physical and financial abusive behaviour towards Agnes.
“After she came back from the Olympics, Agnes moved back home, as she told us this man [Rotich] had slapped her and threatened to break her legs with a rungu,” said Vincent Tirop, father of Agnes. “We told her to stay home and train, so every morning she’d run on that road outside,” he said, pointing to a rust-coloured track.
But as rainy season descended, the dirt road became a mudslide, Agnes decided to move 38 miles north to the Kenya Athletics training camp in Iten to prepare for her next race. Iten is also the town where she shared a home with Rotich. “We thought she would be safe there because the coach told us there were security guards watching over the grounds,” Vincent added.
‘I did not see Agnes, I thought she was asleep’
On the cool evening of Oct 11, Evelyn Tirop, the late athlete’s younger sister, who is also a runner, said Rotich arrived at the camp with a male friend requesting to see Agnes.
“Agnes told me they were forcing her to go back with them, so I accompanied her to his homestead,” said Evelyn, 20, who says she was concerned for her sister’s safety after learning of the abuse. “But they looked happy and he didn’t show any issues, so I went to sleep in the next room.”
The following morning, Evelyn woke early and found Rotich in the living room. She said he had a strange request: that she should go to the butcher to buy meat.
“It was only 7.30 in the morning, so I told him I could go later because I had to collect my certificate [from school],” she said. “I did not see Agnes, I thought she was asleep.”
Later that day, Evelyn says she received a call from Rotich telling her not to return to the house, as he and Agnes would be taking a trip to Nairobi. When she asked to speak with her sister, Rotich told her she was unavailable.
When she reached her parents’ village, Evelyn received another call, this time from a cousin of Rotich, who asked if she knew the whereabouts of Agnes because she and Rotich had had an altercation. An unease filled her stomach and the young girl tried phoning her sister multiple times, but the line was off.
Evelyn and her parents decided to report Agnes as missing to the Iten Police station. The next morning, Agnes was found dead, laying in a pool of blood.
Agnes’s closest friend and fellow athlete, Caroline Chepkoech, said she learnt of the news on her way back from the Boston Marathon. “I was shocked,” said the former African junior champion, “She was done with this guy; I don’t know how he convinced her to go back.”
Peres Jepchirchir said Agnes had opened up about the abuse after Jepchirchir, the Olympic marathon champion, questioned why she had missed a recent athletics marketing event. “She told me she had been injured by her boyfriend and showed me photos of her ear swollen,” said the 28-year-old. “She also showed me some photos of her boyfriend spending money in clubs with ladies.
She realised he was using her money in a bad way, so she decided to stop supporting him and he became very angry.”
“He was very jealous and controlling,” Cheptoo Lagat added. “He was draining her of her money, her energy and her spirit.”
‘She was like a mum to a lot of girls’
Friends describe Agnes as a religious person, who loved gospel music and dancing in church.
She was passionate about education, said Cheptoo Lagat, even though she had not been able to continue her own studies, and paid for the school fees of several local children. “She was like a mum to a lot of girls in the village,” she said. “They looked up to her as she had nothing growing up, and now, she was a world-class athlete.”
Kenya Athletics along with the government of Nandi County, family and friends, are creating a foundation in Agnes Tirop’s name to help victims of domestic violence, as well as setting up scholarships for girls.
“We’re going to raise our voices. We will not let her death be in vain,” said Cheptoo Lagat. “Everywhere she went she drew people close to her because of her warmth and her spirit and we want to honour her memory.”
World marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge has been appointed the brand ambassador the Isaiah Kiplagat Memorial Ndalat Gaa Cross Country Championship.
Kipchoge who hails from Nandi County was named as the ambassador because he hails from area and his exceptional performance in athletics.
The event’s Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairman Abraham ‘Solo” Mutai said Kipchoge’s mandate will be to market the event, nurture and mentor upcoming promising athletes taking part in the race.
Kipchoge is fresh from winning this year’s Berlin Marathon on September 24, where set a new world marathon record of 2:01.39 in the German capital.
At the Ndalaat Gaa cross country championships, is where budding athletes are nurtured and sanctified to conquer the world.
Joseph Ebuya started the season by winning the 2009 Ndalat Gaa meeting before going ahead to bag the world cross-country title in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in 2010.
Ebuya’s win brought the individual senior men’s 12km title back to Kenya for the first time since Paul Tergat won in Belfast 1999.
The 2011 London Marathon winner Prisca Jeptoo won in 2012 after claiming silver medals at Daegu worlds while Vivian Cheruiyot went ahead to strike two gold medals in 2011 and crowned the world cross-country title.
Olympic, world and Commonwealth games 3000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto is another one among the many athletes who have developed and horned their talent in this annual run.
Two times Rotterdam marathon champion Marius Kimutai and two time Africa Athletics champion Mathew Kisorio will face off in this year’s Valencia marathon to be staged on 2nd December in Spain.
Speaking on Saturday after competing at the anti-Rabbis race, second edition of Rabbis Free Kenya 10km Road Run held on Saturday in Nandi County, the duo were optimistic they will be carrying the title back home.
Valencia marathon has been dominated by Kenyans and for the last eight years in a row, Kenyans have been winning the title with Sammy Kitwara holding the course record of 2:05.15 after winning the 2017 title.
The 2017 Amsterdam marathon champion, Kimutai won the race Kimutai in 27:02.02 ousting 2017 Daegu marathon champion Kisorio, who will be competing together in Valencia.
Boosting of his personal best in 42kk at 2:05.47 when he won the 2016 Amsterdam marathon, Kimutai said he competed in the race as part of training ahead of Valencia among other short races in the country.
“Today’s race was too competitive and never knew that I will win but winning was not in focus since I have set my focus to compete in Valencia. Today was my training,” said Kimutai.
Kimutai won the Rotterdam marathon in 2016 before defending his title in 2016 as Kenneth Kipkemoi won in 2017.
He added that the route has always been part of his training course daily and understand it better that was great for him to win.
Kisorio, who won the Africa 5,000m and 10,000m junior titles finished second timing 27:07.06 while upstart Edward Kibet completed the podium.
“I did not plan to compete in this race but I saw it good, since the race course passes near my home, I decided to run as part of my training. This is a good motivation to young people who can emulate me and take athletics seriously, knowing that event those athletes who compete abroad can also take part in this region,” said Kisorio.
Elsewhere former world half marathon bronze medalist Pascalia Jepkorir is set to compete in one of the races in China.
Jepkorir defeated Joyce Chepkemei to lift the title following her second stab locally arranged road races, ran shoulder to shoulder with Jepkemei after they stepped into the lead at 4km. But experienced Jepkorir sped off to win in 32:12 while Chepkemei was second in 32:22 before Betty Lembus completed the podium clocking 32:42.
“I will be going to China for a marathon so this was part of my training. At the same time, this is my home and I had to compete well,” said Jepkorir who was in the Kenya team for the 2018 world half marathon in Valencia.
Marius Kimutai, the 2017 Rotterdam marathon winner and former world half marathon bronze medlilist Pascalia Jepkorir piped their opponents to win the 2nd edition of Rabbis Free Kenya 10km Road Run that was held on Saturday (22) in Nandi Coounty.
title as former world half marathon bronze medlilist Pascalia Jepkorir led in women in a race ran today in Nandi County.
All athletes competing on home turf, Kimutai and Jepkorir proved their worthy in the campaign to eradicate rabbis in line with vision 2030 ahead of world Rabbis Day set for September 28th.
With his preparations to compete at the Valencia marathon, Kimutai cut the tape in 27:02.2 beating former double Africa junior champion Mathew Kisorio who finished second timing 27:04.06 and Edward Kibet completing top three positions by clocking 27:37.09.
The 2016 Amsterdam marathon champion, who enjoys marathon personal best of 2:05.47, said he understands the route very well since it is part of his training lane daily.
“I know this route very well and I utilized the hilly places to outsmart my opponent. This race is part of my preparations for Valencia marathon,” said Kimutai.
The race started at Kipsgak Junction along Kapsabet – Kericho road and completing at Tegat Primary school.
Kisorio returned second in 27:07.06 while upstart Edward Kibet completed the podium.
Jepkorir redeemed herself to win the women’s race following her second position at Chemususu Dam half marathon last Saturday.
She ousted Joyce Chepkemei to win the race in 32:12 as Chepkemei was second in 32:22 before Betty Lembus completed the podium clocking 32:42.
“I will be going to China for a marathon so this was part of my training. At the same time, this is my home and I had to compete well,” said Jepkorir.
Race director and Sharon Lives On director Barnaba Korir said time has come for Kenya to live a free rabbis life.
Korir lives with experience after he lost his daughter due to rabbis after he was bitten by a god.
“We need to end this and we are distributing drugs hospitals and villages to cure this disease. Nobody should die of rabbis in this country,” said Korir.
Watch out for Kenya’s Amos Kipruto overshadowed by the publicity on Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge and former world record holder Wilson Kipsang hitting the headlines in the media ahead of Sunday’s Berlin Marathon.
Kipruto has been overshadowed in the media by race favourites Kipsang and Kipchoge but he is raring to go and cause an upset to the bigwigs.
Kipruto who may not be chasing for the world record like his compatriots Kipchoge and Kipsang is aiming for a win.
Kipruto who is under the “2 Running Club” banner will be up against Iten-based Kipsang (with a personal best time two hours, three minutes), who is managed by Volare Sports Management and Kipchoge (2:03:05), who is under Global Sports Communication in Kaptagat who are both eyeing a world record.
He is confident after his training session went on well without any incident and is optimistic he will do well on Sunday.
Based in Kapsabet, Nandi County, Kipruto might be the next world beater going by his record lately.
He started the season well after participating in his first World Marathon Majors race in Tokyo where he emerged third with his compatriot and training partner Dickson Chumba winning the race.
In 2017, Kipruto won Seoul Marathon after running in 2:05:54 before coming in fifth position in Amsterdam Marathon where he clocked 2:05:43.
Kipruto, who won in his debut marathon at the Rome Marathon (2:08:12) in 2016 said will not be going for the marathon record but wants to be in the podium after 42km.
“I will be targeting to run well and looking forward to lower my personal best because Berlin has a fast course,” said Kipruto.
He also said that his main target in the races is to get experience so that he can calculate how he can also one day be a world record holder.
Kipruto’s Italian coach, Claudio Berardelli, says Kipruto is strong and should perform well in the race.
“Kipruto has exhibited his potential capabilities in his training and I know he is going to perform well on Sunday,” said the coach.
The largest and first truly pan-African free-to-air broadcaster, Kwesè Free Sports, today announced that it will be sponsoring this year’s edition of the Rift Valley Marathon to be held on 17 March 2018 at Mosoriot, Nandi County.
Christened as the Source of Champions, Nandi County will host the Rift Valley Marathon set for 17th March, 2017 in Mosoriot, Nandi County.
And today, race organisers were boosted by kshs 1.95 million from Kwese Sport, a free to air sports channel.
Kwese Sports TV general manager Monicah Ndung’u said she is keen for the race to grow and contribute to local sports in Kenya, the commitment they uphold in all their markets and they are thrilling to be part of this year’s Rift Valley Marathon.
“This is a race that has served as training ground for some of the most successful Kenyan runners competing on the global stages. We are now at the forefront of making it not only a successful event but also a memorable one,” she added.
The same was echoed by race Marketing Director Sharon Allela.
“We are really excited about the Kwesé Rift Valley Marathon partnership as our synergies are well aligned for the future of Sports in Africa and as we strive to grow the race into the biggest in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020, we hope to attract runners from around the world to come run with the Kenyans and experience the beautiful scenic Nandi County and the magical Rift Valley”, said Allela.
Providing the best in premium sports to fans across the continent free of charge is crucial to this pan-African broadcaster, Kwesé is also committed to fostering partnerships that build lasting momentum for local sports programs in Kenya.