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Africa

Kenyan Olympic marathon champion leaps to death

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-05-16

Kenyan Olympic marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru died after leaping off the balcony at his Rift Valley home in Nyahururu late Sunday. Wanjiru, 24, became the first Kenyan to win gold in the marathon after competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

REUTERS - Kenyan Olympic marathon champion Samuel  Wanjiru was killed when he jumped off the balcony of his home late on Sunday, police said on Monday.

Police said they were trying to ascertain whether the 24-year-old - the first Kenyan to win the Olympic gold in the marathon at Beijing in 2008 - had deliberately killed himself by jumping off the balcony at his home in Nyahururu, a town in the Rift Valley, some 150 km (94 miles) northwest of the capital Nairobi.

Jaspher Ombati, the regional police chief for the area, said Wanjiru appeared to have suffered internal injuries after the fall and was confirmed dead by doctors at a nearby hospital.

“I can confirm that Wanjiru is dead. It is not yet clear whether it was a suicide or if he jumped out of rage, or what caused him to fall to the ground,” Ombati told Reuters.

“He jumped from his first floor balcony to the ground. He was bleeding from the nose and the mouth, and may have suffered internal injuries,” the police chief said.

Ombati said police were investigating a possible love triangle that could have been behind the death of Wanjiru, a former winner of the Chicago and London marathons.

Ombati said the athlete’s wife Triza Njeri had come home to find Wanjiru in bed with another woman, had locked the couple in the bedroom and ran outside.

Wanjiru then leapt from the balcony, he said.

Ombati said Njeri and Wanjiru’s female companion are assisting police in investigating the death.

Last December, Wanjiru was charged in court with threatening to kill Njeri and illegal possession of an AK-47 assault rifle.

Njeri later withdrew her accusation of attempted murder against him in court, saying the couple had reconciled.

He also suffered minor injuries from a car crash in January when he swerved to avoid an oncoming truck, hit a pot hole and rolled his car.

Wanjiru defied the heat of Beijing in 2008 to triumph in an Olympic record time at the games held in China.

As a young man, Wanjiru moved to Japan in 2002 to attend high school after winning a cross country selection trial in Kenya.
 

Date created : 2011-05-16

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