The late Agnes Tirop, former 500m World bronze medalist who was found dead on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. [Internet]

Ethiopian marathon great Haile Gebrselassie yesterday mourned fallen Kenyan star Agnes Tirop as he launched the 21st edition of the Great Ethiopian Run.

In his virtual address, Gebrselassie said he was shocked by the demise of the women’s 10km World Record holder who was found murdered at her home in Eldoret last week. The former World Cross Country champion will be buried tomorrow.

“I would like to say how sad I am with the sudden death of Agnes, my deepest condolence to the family and Kenyans at large,” he said.

“Kenya and Ethiopia are competitors in athletics, but friends and neighbours in life,” Gebrselassie said.

“With Ethiopian airlines, we are just one hour away from each other. It is on this note that I am inviting Kenyan runners to come forward and take part in this race, either physically or virtually,” he said.

“We will be honoured to welcome you here in Addis Ababa for the biggest and most fun race in the world,” he added.

10/5/15 Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie crosses the finish line at the end of the Morrisons Great Manchester Run. During an interview afterwards he announced his retirement Action Images via Reuters

Ethiopian Ambassador Meles Alem Tikea said Ethiopia government and Ethiopia Athletics Federation were also saddened by the loss of Tirop. Meanwhile, women’s 1500m double Olympic champion, Faith Chepngetich is set to grace this year’s Great Ethiopian Run slated for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on November 14.

Upcoming athlete Victor Kipruto and Alex Kiplimo Kemboi who emerged fourth in the Le Puy en Velay 15km road run are some of the Kenyan participants who have confirmed their entries for the race.

Due to the laid down Covid-19 protocol, Tikea said the race is open to only 25,000 participants this season unlike the 2019 edition that hosted 45,000 athletes.

National Olympic Committee of Kenya President Paul Tergat, Helen Obiri, Priscah Jeptoo and Edna Kiplagat are some of the big names who have graced the competition as chief guests.

 

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