Kenya marathon star Wanjiru dies

Kenyan Olympic marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru died in a fall from a balcony after a domestic dispute involving his wife and another woman, police said today.

One officer said Wanjiru committed suicide, while another said he jumped to stop his wife from leaving the house after she discovered him with another woman.



The 24-year-old runner died yesterday after jumping from the balcony at his home in the town of Nyahururu, in the Rift Valley.



"The fact of the matter is that Wanjiru committed suicide," said a spokesman.



Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere also said initial reports indicated Wanjiru killed himself, though a local official offered a different account.



"Wanjiru came home with another woman friend at around 11.30pm and then when his wife came home and found them she inquired who the lady was," area police chief Jasper Ombati said. "They got into an argument. His wife locked them in the bedroom and ran off.



"He then jumped from the bedroom balcony. He is not here to tell us what he thinking when he jumped. We do not suspect foul play. In our estimation we think he wanted to stop his wife from leaving the compound."



Ethiopian distance running great Haile Gebrselassie, a double Olympic 10,000-metre champion and world record-holder in the marathon, said he was "totally shocked" by the news.



"My thoughts are with his family and all his friends and colleagues," he said.



"Of course one wonders if we as an athletics family could have avoided this tragedy," he said.



At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Wanjiru became the first Kenyan to win a gold medal in the marathon, finishing in an Olympic-record 2 hours, 6 minutes, 32 seconds.



Wanjiru had a history of domestic problems. Last December, he was charged with wounding his security guard with a rifle and threatening to kill his wife and maid. The runner denied all charges and was released on bail.



Wanjiru made an early start to his career, moving to Japan aged 15 where he won some major cross-country events while also competing in track competitions.



Moving to Europe to advance his promising career, Wanjiru won the Rotterdam Half Marathon in 2005 in a world record time.



He twice improved on that record before stepping up to the full marathon in 2007, back in Japan, winning the Fukuoka Marathon.



The following year he finished second in the prestigious London marathon, and then claimed the biggest prize of his career by taking Olympic gold in Beijing.



Wanjiru became the youngest runner to win four major marathons. In addition to the Olympics, he won in London in 2009 and in Chicago in 2009 and 2010, in the process running the fastest ever time recorded in a marathon in the United States.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Quantity Surveyor - 224/15

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The infrastructure, support services and const...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketing Executive - £20,000 OTE - Uncapped

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning IT company a...

Recruitment Genius: Solutions Consultant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: As a Solutions Consultant for this Professiona...

Recruitment Genius: HR Consultant

£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A small family run HR consultancy based ...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders