Agnes Jebet Tirop (23 October 1995 – 13 October 2021) was a Kenyan professional long-distance runner who mainly competed in the 5000 metres and cross country running. At the 2015 IAAF World Cross Country Championships she became the second-youngest ever gold medallist in the women's race after Zola Budd. She was a medallist at junior level at the World Cross Country and World Junior Championships in Athletics. She was also the junior champion at the African Cross Country Championships in 2014. She held a 5000 m best of 14:50.36 minutes. She won the bronze medal in the 10,000 metres events at the 2017 and 2019 World Athletics Championships and, at the time of her death in 2021, was the world-record holder in the 10 kilometres women's only event.
|Birth name||Agnes Jebet Tirop|
|Born||23 October 1995|
Uasin Gishu County, Kenya
|Died||13 October 2021 (aged 25)|
|Event(s)||5000 metres, 10,000 metres|
|Achievements and titles|
Tirop was stabbed to death in October 2021. This not only cut her career tragically short, but made her the first of two bronze medalist runners to be murdered that month; the second was Ecuadorian sprinter Álex Quiñónez, 9 days later.
Tirop first came to prominence at the national level in 2012, when she was runner-up to world junior champion Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon at the Kenyan Cross Country Championships. This led to her first national selection and international medal at the 2012 African Cross Country Championships; where she was again the runner-up to Kipyegon and took the junior silver medal. She was Kenya's most prominent entrant for the 5000 metres at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Athletics and finished with a bronze medal in a personal best of 15:36.74 minutes behind Ethiopian opposition.
Tirop was again second to Kipyegon at the 2013 Kenyan Cross Country Championships and teamwork between the pair led to a Kenyan 1–2 and team title at the 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships – Kipyegon defended her title while Tirop was a narrow second to claim her first medal at the competition. She made progress on the track that year, setting personal bests of 8:39.13 minutes for the 3000 metres and 14:50.36 minutes for the 5000 metres, and also on the roads with a half marathon best of 71:57 minutes.
In the 2014 season she finally emerged from Kipyegon's shadow. Tirop won the Kenyan cross country junior title and then dominated the junior race at the 2014 African Cross Country Championships, leading the Kenyans to victory by a 14-second margin (Kipyegon won both senior races). She was unable to achieve such a margin over African runner-up Alemitu Heroye at the 2014 World Junior Championships in Athletics and was again third in the 5000 m, while the Ethiopians extended Kenya's historic lack of a gold medal in that event.
Tirop entered the senior ranks in the 2015 season and immediately performed well, winning the Eldoret Discovery Cross Country in Kenya. She was second to Kipyegon at the Kenyan senior national championship race and earned a senior national selection – a performance which filled her with confidence. She said at the time "I did not even believe I could make the team. I will not fear running against seniors." For the 2015 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, after Kipyegon withdrew the reigning world champion Emily Chebet was seen as Kenya's leading athlete, and Tirop as a key team member. Despite this being her senior international debut and the fourth youngest athlete in the field, Tirop took to the front and gradually moved away from the field to win the senior gold medal some five seconds ahead of Ethiopia's Senbere Teferi. This made the 19-year-old the second-youngest winner of that title in championships history, after Zola Budd's win in 1985, and also brought her Kenya's 300th medal at the competition. With Ethiopia rounding out the top four and defending champion Chebet in sixth, Kenya came in second in the team race.
In 2017 she participated in the World Championships held in London, winning the bronze medal in the 10,000 metres event, with a time of 31:03.50, her personal best in the distance. In 2018, she won the World 10K Bangalore race in a course record time. She won a bronze medal in the same event at the 2019 World Athletics Championships.
At the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics, Tirop came fourth in the 5000 metres event. In September 2021, Tirop broke the world record in a 10 kilometres women-only event. She set a time of 30:01 in an event in Herzogenaurach, Germany. In October 2021, she came second in the Giants Geneva race behind Kalkidan Gezahegne in a time of 30:20.
Tirop was found dead in her home in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County, on 13 October 2021; she had multiple stab wounds in her neck and abdomen. Authorities believe a domestic altercation occurred and Tirop was stabbed, as they also found her car windows had been shattered. A search began for Tirop's husband, Emmanuel Rotich, when he went missing after calling his family crying and asking for God's forgiveness for something he had done. He then was involved in a lengthy high-speed chase, trying to flee the country, when he ultimately rammed his getaway vehicle into a lorry near Mombasa. He was subsequently arrested and questioned about Tirop's death.
Tirop's funeral was attended by around 1,000 people, and she was buried in her home town.
These were Tirop's lifetime bests.
|2012||African Cross Country Championships||Cape Town, South Africa||2nd||Junior race|||
|World Junior Championships||Barcelona, Spain||3rd||5000 m||15:36.74|
|2013||World Cross Country Championships||Bydgoszcz, Poland||2nd||Junior race||17:51|
|2014||African Cross Country Championships||Kampala, Uganda||1st||Junior race||18:51|
|World Junior Championships||Eugene, United States||3rd||5000 m||15:43.12|
|2015||World Cross Country Championships||Guiyang, China||1st||Senior race||26:01|
|2017||World Championships||London, United Kingdom||3rd||10,000 m||31:03.50|
|2019||World Championships||Doha, Qatar||3rd||10,000 m||30:25.20|
- Eurosport.com. Agnes Jebet Tirop. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
- "Sprinter Alex Quiñónez, 2019 world bronze medallist, shot dead in Ecuador". the Guardian. 24 October 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
- Mutuota, Mutwiri (18 February 2012). Karoki and Chepkirui steal the headlines in Nairobi. IAAF. Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- Williamson, Norrie (19 March 2012). Langat and Chepkirui take African XC titles in Cape Town. IAAF. Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- Martin, David (22 July 2012). Gemili posts championship record on superb night in Barcelona – day two evening report. IAAF. Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- Valiente, Emeterio (11 July 2012). Barcelona 2012 – Event Report – Women's 5000m Final. IAAF. Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- Mutuota, Mutwiri (16 February 2013).Rono and Muriuki win Kenyan World Cross Trials in Nairobi. IAAF. Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- Bamford, Nicola (24 March 2013). Kipyegon majestic in title defence – Bydgoszcz 2013 junior women's report. IAAF. Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- Agnes Jebet Tirop Progression. IAAF. Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- Mutuota, Mutwiri (15 February 2014). Karoki and Kipyegon win in Nairobi. IAAF. Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- Kenya makes a clean sweep at African Cross Country Championships. IAAF (16 March 2014). Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- Robinson, Javier Clavelo (24 July 2014). Report: women's 5000m – IAAF World Junior Championships, Oregon 2014. IAAF. Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- Mills, Steven (26 January 2015). Emerging Tirop dominates in Eldoret – cross-country round-up. IAAF. Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- Mutuota, Mutwiri (14 February 2015). Karoki and Kipyegon successfully defend Kenyan cross-country titles. IAAF. Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- Sammet, Michelle (24 March 2015). Senior women's preview – IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Guiyang 2015. IAAF. Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- Results Senior Race Women. IAAF. Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- Sammet, Michelle (28 March 2015). Teenage talent Tirop triumphs in Guiyang. IAAF. Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- Whittington, Jessica (28 March 2015). Agnes Tirop wins senior women's World Cross title in China. Athletics Weekly. Retrieved on 28 March 2015.
- "Husband a 'suspect' as Kenyan athlete Tirop found dead". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
- "10,000 Metres Women − Final − Results" (PDF). International Association of Athletics Federations. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
- "Tirop breaks course record, Kamworo registers third win in TCS World 10k". The Times of India. 27 May 2018. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
- "World Championship medallist Agnes Jebet Tirop found stabbed to death". Runner's World. 13 October 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
- "Kenyan Agnes Jebet Tirop sets new world record in women-only 10km race". Olympics.com. 12 September 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
- "Gezahegne breaks world 10km record in Geneva, Chelimo goes sub-30 in Valencia, Kumela breaks Kosice course record". World Athletics. 3 October 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
- "Agnes Tirop: world record holder found dead at home in Kenya". The Guardian. 13 October 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
- Haigh, Phil. "World Championship 10,000m medallist Agnes Jebet Tirop found stabbed to death at home". Metro.co.uk. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
- "Athletics Kenya". Retrieved 13 October 2021.
- Patta, Debora. "Olympic runner Agnes Tirop's husband arrested in her killing". CBS News. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
- "Agnes Tirop: Husband arrested in Kenya after athlete's death". BBC News. 14 October 2021. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
- "Slain Kenyan Olympian Agnes Tirop buried in her home village". Reuters. 23 October 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
- "Agnes Jebet TIROP - Personal Bests". World Athletics. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
- "World record-holder Tirop dies". World Athletics. 13 October 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
- "Agnes Jebet Tirop". World Athletics. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
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