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Kenya bids farewell to marathon sensation Kiptum

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Top athletes and dignitaries joined hundreds of mourners at the funeral on Friday of Kenya’s world marathon record-holder Kelvin Kiptum in the nation’s athletics heartland where he was born, trained and died.

Kiptum, a 24-year-old father of two, was killed in a late-night car crash on February 11, just months after shattering the marathon record in Chicago.

Kiptum’s wife, Asenath Rotich, was overcome with emotion as she read a tearful tribute to the marathon prodigy.

“It’s unbelievable that today I have learnt to stay with our beloved kids without you coming home again,” she said, revealing that the couple had planned to hold a wedding ceremony in April.

“I will still make my vows of love even in your rest.”

Although Kiptum only competed in three marathons, he won all of the races, posting three of the seven fastest times in history for the event.

Coe said his death was “a cause of intense sadness” and eulogised the young athlete for scaling “the highest peaks of achievement” during his short life.

“Rest assured your achievements are treasured, indelible and secure in the annals of our history and never ever forgotten,” the athletics chief said.

‘Worked against odds’

Kiptum ran the Chicago race in October in two hours and 35 seconds, slicing 34 seconds off the previous fastest time set by his Kenyan rival, the marathon legend Eliud Kipchoge.

His sudden death has left Kenya, and the wider athletics community, reeling.

Ruto said the East African nation had seen “the future of athletics” in Kiptum.

“He had more reasons not to succeed than to succeed but he worked against the odds,” he said, describing his death as “a very heavy moment”.

Mourners started arriving at the funeral venue at dawn, some wearing black T-shirts with a picture of Kiptum emblazoned across the front.

They viewed the body, laid out in a half-open casket on a red carpet, as a choir sang hymns.

Four giant screens were mounted to stream the event for the many villagers gathered outside the venue.

Dozens of athletes including 1,500m record-holder Faith Kipyegon and two-time Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha knelt in prayer near Kiptum’s casket before showering it with pink and white rose petals.

Neighbours described the star athlete as a “very generous man”.

“In his short life as an athlete, he’s helped in funding (the) education of some of the children at (his alma mater) the Chepsamo primary school,” neighbour Jackson Komen told AFP.

“He was so down-to-earth that when he had broken the world record he would still join his friends at the Chepkorio centre to play pool,” Komen added.

Candlelight vigil

Hundreds of people had turned out Thursday as Kiptum’s coffin was taken from the Rift Valley town of Eldoret to his home village of Chepkorio.

Hundreds of mourners also joined a solemn candlelight vigil in the nation’s capital Nairobi on Thursday, paying an emotional tribute to the rising star who had been the overwhelming favourite for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

After the funeral ceremony, Kiptum will be laid to rest in Naiberi, near Eldoret, where the government has built a new home for the family of the national hero.

Police said Kiptum was driving near Eldoret at around 11:00 pm on February 11 when his car careered off the road into a ditch and hit a tree.

Kenya’s chief government pathologist, Johansen Oduor, said on Wednesday an autopsy found Kiptum had suffered severe head injuries.

Toxicology tests were still under way, he added.

Kiptum’s Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana, 36, also died in the crash.

Hakizimana, who had trained Kiptum since 2019, was laid to rest in the Rwandan capital Kigali on Wednesday.

Known for maintaining a gruelling training schedule that sometimes topped 300 kilometres (190 miles) a week, Kiptum had recently announced he was hoping to smash the mythic two-hour mark at the Rotterdam Marathon in April.

 

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Highlights from UFC 300: Alex Pereira, Max Holloway seal KO wins

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Highlights from UFC 300: Alex Pereira, Max Holloway seal KO wins

UFC 300 featured one of the greatest knockouts on Saturday, as Max Holloway faceplanted Justin Gaethje in the final second of their ‘BMF’ title fight.

Holloway outclassed Gaethje for five rounds before capping off a stunning performance with a mesmerising KO, which left Gaethje out cold, face-first on the canvas.

With that, Hawaiian Holloway took the ‘Baddest Motherf***er’ belt from the American, while the other title fights at UFC 300 saw the champions retain.

In the main event, Alex Pereira knocked out Jamahal Hill in round one to remain champion at 205lbs.

Hill stands southpaw; Pereira is orthodox. The champion kicks low twice, and Hill responds with one of his own.

Hill tries a cross, but Pereira is out of range. Good lead right hook by Hill. A slower spell ensues, and the crowd gets a bit restless.

Pereira evades a head kick then jabs to the body of Hill. The Brazilian is pressing forward. Hill lands a kick right on Pereira’s cup, and referee Herb Dean steps in to halt the action, but Pereira waves him away.

Seconds later, Pereira sends Hill RIGID with a signature left hook!!! Hill falls back onto the canvas, his eyes rolling back in his head, and Pereira brutalises the challenger with hammer fists, forcing the stoppage!

Holloway outclassed Gaethje for five rounds before capping off a stunning performance with a mesmerising KO, which left Gaethje out cold, face-first on the canvas.

With that, Hawaiian Holloway took the ‘Baddest Motherf***er’ belt from the American, while the other title fights at UFC 300 saw the champions retain.

Zhang Weili retains strawweight belt in back-and-forth bout with Yan Xiaonan; Arman Tsarukyan edges past Charles Oliveira in close clash; Jiri Prochazka fights back to TKO Aleksandar Rakic; debuting Kayla Harrison dominates Holly Holm for submission win and Renato Moicano stops Jalin Turner with ground and pound to maintain momentum.

 

 

 

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Men charged with murder of Kaizer Chiefs’ Luke Fleurs remanded

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Men charged with murder of Kaizer Chiefs’ Luke Fleurs remanded

Six suspects arrested over the murder of Kaizer Chiefs player Luke Fleurs have been remanded by the Roodepoort magistrate’s court on Friday.

Ndumiso Moswane, 26; Fernando Siva, 25; Nhlakanipho Dlamini, 21; Franky Xaba, 25; Maredi Mphahlele, 36; and Thembinkosi Hlomikhawu, 31, have been charged with murder, possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, robbery with aggravating circumstances and defeating the ends of justice.

The suspects are expected to apply for bail during their court appearance next Friday.

All six suspects have opted to apply for the services of Legal Aid lawyers.

State prosecutor Arnold Limekhaya said the state intends to oppose the bail applications.

“We will oppose bail,” he told the court, indicating the state was yet to get the profiles of the men and their bail statements.

The 24-year-old Kaizer Chiefs defender and South Africa under-23 international was hijacked and fatally shot in the chest at a petrol station in Honeydew last Wednesday.

It is understood that the assailants drove off in Fleurs’ vehicle.

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Lagos FA to debut Nigerian Ex-International cup

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Lagos FA To Debut Nigerian Ex-International Cup

The Lagos State Football Association (LSFA) has concluded arrangements to organize a tournament involving Nigerian ex-internationals and their clubs’ teammates back in the day.
The Lagos State Football Association Chairman, Hajj Gafar Olawale Liameed, disclosed that the ex-internationals coming together to play football will inspire lots of youths.

“We believe in our ex-players. LSFA is determined to carry along ex-internationals and drive the game forward at every level,” Hajj Gafar stated.

“The tournament will see former Nigeria internationals based in Lagos adopt teams. For instance, if an ex-international is based in the area of Dino SC he can adopt them.

“The competition tagged ‘The Nigerian Ex Internationals Cup’ would see teams play on a home and away basis in the first phase before we proceed to the knockout stage.

“We want to have a clear identity and organize lots of programs. This is one of our innovations and we hope to take blessings from the Lagos State Government and Nigeria Football Federation,” the football technocrat enthused.

Hajj Gafar also reiterated LSFA’s commitments to the proper development of football in the centre of excellence.

“We’re determined to lead that development at every level and have created a robust plan for doing so using all our resources and knowledge.”

Meanwhile, former Nigeria internationals like Joseph Yobo, Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Wasiu Ipaye have already thrown their weight behind the innovation by the LSFA.

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