They were both 24 years old, with an already well-established track record, crazy talent and a potentially bright future.
This Sunday evening, the death of Kelvin Kiptum, victim of a car accident which also cost the life of his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, recalls the death of Samuel Wanjiru.
Olympic champion in 2008 in Beijing, the Kenyan died on May 15, 2011, less than 3 years after his gold medal, after falling from the balcony of his apartment in Nyahururu.
What seemed like a tragic accident was in reality a murder.
A few years after the events, the former Kenyan government forensic pathologist, Moses Njue, confirmed that Samuel Wanjiru had been killed.
When he had just been surprised by his wife in the company of another woman, he had fallen from his balcony, located on the first floor.
Still alive, he then received a blow to the head with a “blunt object” which caused his death, at just 24 years old.
“A huge loss”
The Kenyan was a huge marathon talent.
Winner of the Fukuoka Marathon in 2007, when he was only 18 years old, he became Olympic champion in Beijing, beating the Moroccan Jaouad Gharib and the Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede, establishing a new Olympic record in 2h06′32″, a brand that still stands.
He then achieved even more impressive times during the Chicago Marathon and then the London Marathon, flirting with 2h05′.
13 years later, Kenyan athletics has lost another of its pearls.
“A huge loss,” lamented double Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha on X (formerly Twitter).
Kenyan marathon legend Eliud Kipchoge also expressed his “deep sadness”.
“I am very, very sad to learn of the tragic loss of Kelvin Kiptum,” he wrote.
May his memory be a source of comfort and strength in these difficult times.