Relatives say body of teenage athletics hopeful was beaten to death with metal pole
A Kenyan sprinter who died after being hit by a pole while training at a youth track club, has been buried.
Agnes Tirop, 17, collapsed and died when she was hit by a pole in the locker room of her training team at Yamanah Girls Training Centre in the middle of the night.
A postmortem examination found that the young woman had suffered several injuries to her head and spine consistent with blunt force trauma.
“Agnes had three broken bones in her spine which was removed to make her spine stable. It was at this time that the doctors further extracted an external piece of a metal pole from her lower back. Both pieces of metal pole were discovered in her system,” Dr Anna Nawakwi of the University of Zimbabwe and an expert witness on sports-related injuries, told Agnes’ family and friends in Mwea, in western Kenya.
Tirop’s parents and elder sister participated in the funeral on Tuesday. She was originally buried on Monday evening in Likoni, a coastal town. Her death has been blamed on a training accident.
Relatives and friends of Tirop told Kenyan media on Monday that two staff from the training centre had assaulted her before hitting her with the pole.
It is not clear who the staff were.
Tuason Mburu, the homeboy he was training, said he woke up to get water. “She didn’t come back and all the later [people] from the office came and informed me [that] she was brought to hospital,” he said.
Sport and culture minister Hassan Wario said CCTV footage showed the staff had rushed Agnes from the training area to the stadium where she was collected by a taxi and then a second car took her to hospital.
“This incident will be investigated,” Wario said on Tuesday. He said he had ordered an immediate suspension of any staff at the training centre who were “found to be complicit” in the incident.
Tirop was awarded Kenya’s Rising Star award by Athletics Kenya last year, adding to the acclaim she garnered in the international sprinting arena.
Tirop had run in under 14 seconds in the 100m at the IAAF World Championships in London last summer, becoming the first Kenyan woman to run a sub-14 second 100m in a world championships.
Tirop was expected to join the European Athletics Development Programme for track and field athletes next year.