Tributes have been pouring in for Kenya’s Agnes Tirop, who was found dead on Wednesday, with her former athletics captain Julius Yego among those leading the way.
The 25-year-old was found stabbed to deathat her home, with police naming her husband as a suspect.
When Tirop, who finished fourth in this year’s Olympic 5,000m final, won 10,000m bronze at the 2019 World Athletics Championships, Yego was her team captain.
“She was an amazing young girl who was really working hard to be one of the top athletes in the world,” Yego told the BBC World Service’s Newsday programme.
“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.”
During her career, Tirop had success as both a junior – winning 5,000m bronze at world championships in 2012 and 2014 – and as a senior, winning the World Cross Country championships in 2015.
At the World Athletics Championships in 2017 and 2019, Tirop won bronze in the 10,000m before finishing 0.75 seconds outside the medal placesat the Tokyo Games two months ago.
Last month, she set a new world record of 30 minutes and one second, in Germany, for the 10km road race.
On Thursday, Athletics Kenya – the country’s governing body – suspended all athletics competition for two weeks as a mark of respect for Tirop’s death.
“We just lost a great talent. She was such a strong woman and committed to what she was doing,” said Yego.
Asked how he would remember, the Olympic javelin silver medallist replied: “A young lady who was so peaceful, so humble, always smiling.
“You would never know when she was sad or angry,” he said, adding she was incredibly “focussed on her training and her career”.
“We had a difficult day yesterday – it is still shocking. When you check on social media or TV, it is the sad news of Agnes. We are still collecting ourselves.”