Kenyan police have reportedly arrested the husband of slain running champion Agnes Tirop as new details emerge around the 25-year-old's shocking death.
Police said Tirop appeared to have been stabbed in the neck with a knife after the body of the world record holder was found at her home.
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The death of the national icon has rocked the nation, with Tirop an undisputed distance running superstar of Kenya.
Authorities had appealed for Tirop's husband Ibrahim Rotich to come in for questioning in relation to her alleged murder.
"We are now urging Ibrahim Rotich, husband to the late Kenyan athlete, to present himself to the nearest police station or security agency to assist police with their investigations," Tom Makori, sub county police commander for Keiyo North, said on Thursday.
A short time after appealing for him to come forward, Kenyan police confirmed they'd arrested Mr Rotich, who was reportedly driving a private car in the coastal city of Mombasa.
"The suspect has been arrested in Mombasa," said George Kinoti, the Director of Criminal Investigation.
"He is in custody and he was arrested while fleeing.
"He will face charges once investigations are completed."
Tirop represented Kenya in the 5,000 metres at the Tokyo Olympics, finishing fourth in the final, and last month smashed the women-only 10km road running world record in Germany.
The death of the star distance runner who won bronze medals at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships in the 10,000m, and also lifted the 2015 World Cross Country title, has caused shock and sadness throughout Kenya.
Her distraught friends and relatives left her home while police officers used a cordon to keep away others who had come to inquire what had happened.
Fellow athlete Eunice Sum was one of those who visited the horrific scene where Tirop died in her home.
"Agnes was a jovial, ever-smiling lady... seeing her body was so hurtful for us. I hope Agnes gets justice. Rest in peace Agnes."
World Athletics is deeply shocked and saddened by the untimely death of Kenya’s Agnes Tirop 🇰🇪 at the age of 25.
The 2015 world cross-country champion and two-time world medallist had broken the women-only world record for 10km last month 👇
— World Athletics (@WorldAthletics) October 13, 2021
Kenyan track and field legend Julius Yego was another to pay tribute to the runner, lamenting the fact that the world had "lost a great talent".
Yego, world javelin champion in 2015, described her as an "amazing young girl" who was on her way to becoming one of the top athletes in the world.
Tributes roll in for distance running star Agnes Tirop
"She wanted to be the best and it was only a few weeks ago that she broke the world record for the 10km. Her successful career was still being crafted but unfortunately, someone decided the whole story cannot be written," he told the BBC.
"We just lost a great talent. She was such a strong woman and committed to what she was doing."
Hellen Obiri, who won silver in the 5,000m in Tokyo, also paid tribute to her long-time rival.
"It was shocking news to me that Agnes is no more. I have raced with Agnes in so many races, recently in Tokyo. I was hoping Agnes would take over from me but it was an untimely death for her. May she rest in eternal peace," Obiri told the BBC.
The adidas family is deeply saddened by the tragic news about Agnes Jebet Tirop.
Agnes was an incredible person, a record breaking athlete and a beloved member of our family.
She will be greatly missed by us all and her legacy will forever live on in our memory. #AgnesTirop pic.twitter.com/VXZQhdw6HL
— adidas Running (@adidasrunning) October 13, 2021
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said her death was "unsettling, utterly unfortunate and very sad."
"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," he said.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach described Tirop as "a young and bright talent", adding: "Her performances at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 gave hope and inspiration to so many people. My thoughts go to the Kenyan Olympic community and especially to her friends and family."
Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, said: "Athletics has lost one of its brightest young stars in the most tragic circumstances.
"This is a terrible blow to the entire athletics community, but especially to her family, her friends and Athletics Kenya and I send them all our most heartfelt condolences."
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