Benjamin Kiplagat: Ugandan athlete found dead in Kenya, homicide suspected

Nairobi, (KE): Benjamin Kiplagat, Uganda’s esteemed long-distance runner is dead in a suspected murder incident. Kiplagat, 34, was discovered lifeless inside his brother’s car in Texas near Kimumu Secondary School along Eldoret-Iten Road in Kenya.

Renowned for his remarkable achievements in long-distance races, the 3000m Steeplechase record holder notably represented Uganda in the Rio Olympics Games in 2016.

The police, investigating the incident, reported a deep knife cut on Kiplagat’s neck, signalling a potential homicide.

The shocking news reverberates through the sports community, mourning the loss of a talent that had significantly contributed to Uganda’s athletic prowess on the global stage.

Kiplagat’s illustrious 17-year career boasted numerous accolades, including a silver medal at the World Under-20 Championships and a bronze medal at the African Championships.

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His prowess extended to achieving a Top 8 ranking in both the Commonwealth Games and the All-African Games.

According to the World Athletics Rankings, he held the 38th position overall in the Men’s 3,000-meter Steeplechase.

A seasoned competitor, Kiplagat participated in prestigious competitions globally, leaving his mark on events like the Shanghai Samsung Diamond League, Lausanne Athletissima in Switzerland, Paris Meeting Areva, and Hengelo Fanny Blankers-Koen Games in the Netherlands.

Notably, in June 2012, Kiplagat etched his name in history by clinching a bronze in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase final, marking a significant milestone for Ugandan male athletes amid years of Kenyan dominance.

The tragedy unfolded on Saturday night, December 30, with reports suggesting that Kiplagat, 37, was allegedly murdered.

A former World Junior Silver medalist in the 3000m steeplechase, Kiplagat had also represented Kenya in various Olympics and World Championships events.

As the sporting world grapples with the loss, the legacy of an athlete who overcame challenges and triumphed on numerous occasions will be remembered and celebrated.

Kiplagat’s Athlete Journey

Kiplagat took up running following the success of Boniface Kiprop, who is from the same village as Kiplagat, in the 2004 World Junior Championships.

He began by competing in the 10,000 metres, but on the advice of his coach, he dropped down to the 1500 and 5000 m.

He made his international debut at the 2006 World Cross Country Championships, having qualified by finishing 6th in the Ugandan Junior Cross Country Championships.

That year he also qualified for the World Junior Championships. There, he set a new national junior record of 8:35.77, which he then lowered to 8:34.14 in the final, where he finished 6th.

In 2008, he finished 4th in the World Cross Country Championships. That year, he lowered the Uganda record to 8:16.06 and then 8:14.29 before finishing second in the World Junior Championships.

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His 2009 season was disrupted by malaria and typhoid, but he still managed to further lower the Ugandan national record to 8:12.98.

He was again affected by malaria, and a boil on his leg, in 2010, but again lowered the Ugandan record to 8:03.81. He finished 4th at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

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