5 sportsmen and women who passed away in 2021 [Pulse Picks 2021]

Rest in peace

Agnes Tirop was among 5 sportsmen and women who passed away in 2021

So many greats gone, so much promise gone. In 2021, we said final farewells to legendary sportsmen and women. From athletics, rugby to boxing, the sports fraternity as a whole was in mourning.

Some of the sports stars, like 10km world record holder Agnes Tirop passed away in the prime of their lives; others like boxing legend Stephen Thega left us decades after ending their careers.

Agnes Tirop

On October 13, at only 25 years old Agnes Tirop, world 10,000m bronze medallist was found murdered in her house in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

The long-distance athlete had stab wounds in the abdomen. Her passing came just two months after she finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics.

Tirop made history in the adizero Road To Records event in Germany in September. She slashed 28 seconds from the 19-year-old women's record for 10km after clocking a staggering 30:01.

Tirop’s triumph at the 2015 World Cross Country Championships at just 19-years-old made her the second-youngest winner of the women’s race ever, behind the legendary Zola Budd.

The athlete was due to celebrate her 26th birthday in ten days.

Edith Muthoni

27-year-old local marathon runner, Edith Muthoni was allegedly shot in the head on the night of October 12 after an altercation with her boyfriend, Kennedy Nyamu.

The terrible incident took place in Kirinyaga County, located about 100km northeast of Nairobi.

Muthoni was taken to the hospital by a person who realised what happened once Nyamu had fled the scene of the alleged incident, but the doctors could do nothing to save her life.

The passing away of Muthoni follows that of Agnes Jebet Tirop, who was one of the best athletes in the history of Kenya.

Stephen Thega

On September 28, former Kenyan boxer Stephen Thega who represented Kenya in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics passed away at the age of 75.

The boxer died at the Kenyatta National Hospital ICU. Confirming the demise, his wife Anna said Thega suffered from Covid-19 infection but had recovered fully from the infection. However, his health deteriorated 3 days before his demise.

Thega won gold at the 1968 and 1972 Africa Championships in Lusaka and Nairobi respectively to claim the ticket to the 1968 Mexico City and 1972 Munich Olympics.

Gilbert Kwemoi

On the night of Friday, August 13 Gilbert Soet Kwemoi, who won a Gold Medal during a championship in China passed away.

Kwemoi collapsed while in his home in Kitale and unfortunately passed away while being taken to Mount Elgon Hospital.

Until his death, Kwemoi was training under the National Police Service (NPS). He earned Kenya a Gold Medal in 2014 during the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, in the 1,500m race after clocking 3:41.99. His success elevated Kenya to position 10 during the championships.

His winning streak continued the following year after he bagged a silver medal during the African Under-20 Championships in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Benjamin Ayimba

On May 22, Kenya Sevens legend and former head coach Benjamin Ayimba passed away. Ayimba passed away at Kenyatta National Hospital where he was undergoing cerebral malaria treatment.

Ayimba, the former Kenya 7s and 15s Captain, was the most successful local Kenya Sevens Coach, having written history by guiding Kenya to its first-ever World Sevens Series Cup title in 2016, winning the Singapore 7s after stunning Fiji 30-7.

Ayimba represented Kenya at Rugby Sevens World Cups (2001 and 2005) as a player. His first appointment as Kenya 7s head coach came in 2006, replacing his coach at Impala Bill Githinji, a position he held to 2011.

During his tenure in 2009 he guided Kenya to its first ever World Series Cup Final in Adelaide, Australia losing 26-7 to South Africa.

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