Tragic news unfolds as Benjamin Kiplagat, the 34-year-old Ugandan long-distance runner who participated in the London 2012 Olympics, has been fatally stabbed in Kenya, as reported by local sources. The somber revelation occurred on New Year’s Eve, prompting World Athletics to extend their heartfelt condolences to Benjamin Kiplagat’s friends, family, teammates, and fellow athletes. The untimely demise of the accomplished runner casts a shadow over the athletic community, leaving many in mourning for the loss of a talented individual.
Police have launched an investigation after the 34-year-old was found dead in a car on Saturday, with stab wounds to his chest and neck. Kiplagat’s body was reportedly found near the town of Eldoret in Kenya, which has training facilities for athletes. “An investigation has been launched,” said local police commander Stephen Okal. “Officers are on the ground pursuing leads.”
Several fans have paid tribute to Kiplagat since the news emerged on New Year’s Eve. “Still struggling to come to terms with it,” wrote one fan on X, while others said they were “saddened” to hear of his death. “He was a tremendous athlete,” added another fan.
World Athletics wrote on X: “World Athletics is shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Benjamin Kiplagat. We send our deepest condolences to his friends, family, team-mates and fellow athletes. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.”
Kiplagat, who specialised in the 3000m steeplechase, represented Uganda in several major events during his career – including three Olympic Games. His first appearance at the Olympics came aged 19 in 2008, when he finished ninth in Beijing.
Kiplagat will be remembered as Uganda’s greatest ever athlete in his discipline. His performance at Lausanne in Switzerland in 2009 – which saw him pass the finish line in just eight minutes and three seconds, is Uganda’s national record in the 3000m steeplechase.
In fact, only 23 men in history have recorded a quicker competitive time in the event. The 3000m steeplechase, which is the most common distance for the steeplechase in athletics, is an obstacle race. It involves athletes jumping over a barrier into a pit of water.
Kiplagat also competed at the London Games in 2012 and the Rio Games in 2016, but he never managed to win a medal on athletics’ biggest stage. He didn’t compete at the most recent Olympics in Tokyo in 2021, which were delayed by a year due to Covid.
The Ugandan star took part in the Commonwealth Games in the Indian city of Delhi in 2010. He came narrowly close to winning a medal – finishing fourth behind the Kenyan trio of Richard Mateelong (gold), Ezekiel Cheboi (silver) and Brimin Kipruto (bronze).
Kiplagat did win a silver medal at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Poland, and he won the bronze at the 2012 African Championships in Benin. His final major appearance came at the 2019 World Championships in Qatar, where he failed to win a medal.