Athletics Community Mourns Kiptum Amid Calls to Protect and Support Athletes

By Lauryne Akoth

Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei led the athletics community in eulogizing Kelvin Kiptum.

Speaking during the funeral service, Tuwei stated that after Kiptum broke the world record in Chicago last year, he divulged plans to break his record again by becoming the first person to run a marathon in under two hours.

He highlighted that Kiptum was voted the world’s best male athlete of the year in long-distance running and awarded the trophy in Monaco by Sebastian Coe.

Tuwei revealed that Athletics Kenya had selected a team of both male and female athletes to represent Kenya in the Paris Olympic Games, with Kiptum at the top of that list.

He urged the selected athletes to bring the win back to Kenya in honor of the late Kelvin Kiptum.

He also paid tribute to the late track legend Henry Rono who will be laid to rest on Wednesday next week.

Tuwei eulogized Kiptum as a real superstar whose career was on a spectacular upward trajectory.

“To keep the memory of the late Kelvin Kiptum, Golazo is launching the Kelvin Kiptum Foundation and the funds will predominantly provide continued financial support for education and infrastructure,” said Tuwei.

He further added that Athletics Kenya would support the program by involving other stakeholders to ensure that all pending payments to Kiptum are paid to the foundation.

Tuwei additionally encouraged Governor Wisley Rotich of Elgeyo Marakwet, to contemplate hiring Kiptum’s widow and establishing a sports center in Chepkorio, aligning with Kiptum’s desire and per the Talanta Hela program.

The CEO of Golazo Bob Verbeeck was also in attendance for the funeral service. He memorialized Kiptum as a loyal friend and exceptional human being.

Brett Holt the vice President of Nike also powerfully commemorated Kiptum. In his speech, he said, “Kelvin Kiptum was an impactful member of the Nike family, bettering the sport and the Nike brand forever. He taught us that humility and hard work were the cornerstone of greatness. To say Kelvin Kiptum was a special athlete would be an understatement. Our condolences to family friends, teammates, and everyone here who knew when we were with Kelvin Kiptum, we were in the presence of greatness.”

The world’s Athletics President Sebastian Coe concluded the tributes from the Athletics committee. He stated that Kiptum’s death at a young age was enough cause for grief.

Coe expressed that, in the face of the sorrow brought about by Kiptum’s passing, Kenyans should commemorate his life.

However, he acknowledged that these celebrations would be tinged with frustration, as Kiptum had the potential to contribute more remarkable chapters to the illustrious history of Kenyan and global athletics.

“Kelvin you will be missed. Our grief and sadness will take time to dissipate. Your achievements are treasured, indelible, and secure in the annals of our history and never forgotten. May you rest in peace,” said Coe.

The chair of the International Olympics Committee Paul Tergat also reiterated Tuwei’s sentiments, ” I would like to request the team heading for the Olympic games in Paris, the only tribute we can give to Kiptum is to bring the medals back home in Kiptum’s honor,” he said.

Additional athletes who came to offer their condolences in the representation of their fellow athletes include Gabriel Geay, who finished second to Kiptum in the Valencia marathon, Julius Yego, a former world Javelin Champion, as well as David Rudisha, Faith Kipyegon, and Mary Moraa.