Athletics world stunned by the news on Sunday that the Kenyan athlete and coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a road accident
Seb Coe, president of World Athletics, led the tributes to marathon world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana after the Kenyan media reported they had died in a car crash.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana,” said Coe. “On behalf of all World Athletics we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, team-mates 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.”
Kiptum, who was 24, along with Rwanda‘s Hakizimana, were in a car accident in the Kaptagat area at 11pm local time on Sunday (Feb 11).
According to the Nation newspaper, Kiptum was driving a Toyota Premio when he lost control of the vehicle. Kiptum and Hakizimana died at the scene while a third passenger was taken to the hospital.
He set a world record of 2:00:35 in Chicago last October. It was just his third marathon, after running a world record for a debut of 2:01:53 in Valencia in December 2022 and a London Marathon course record of 2:01:25 in April 2023.
On April 14 in Rotterdam, he was aiming to become the first man to break the two-hour barrier in an official race. Indeed, little over a week ago he was revealed by smart watch brand Amazfit as their new ambassador, although he did not make the event where the announcement was made in Paris due to travel problems.
The athletics world was also looking forward to him taking on former world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge, among others, at the Paris Olympics this year.
The World Marathon Majors said on Sunday: “The entire Abbott World Marathon Majors family is devastated by the news that our men’s series champion and world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana have passed away. All of our thoughts are with their family and friends at this time.”
The London Marathon posted on social media: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear the terrible news of the death of marathon world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana. The thoughts of everyone at the TCS London Marathon are with Kelvin’s and Gervais’ family and friends.”
Kenya’s minister for sports Ababu Namwamba said on social media: “Devastatingly sickening!! Kenya has lost a special gem. Lost for words.”