Monday, 16 May 2011

Olympic Champion dies in fall

Wanjiru first to the line in Beijing
The world of distance running is in shock today that the 24-year-old Olympic Champion Sammy Wanjiru has died following a fall from the balcony of his house in Kenya.

He was an exceptional talen at a young age for distance running setting the world half marathon world record at the age of 18. This came two weekes after he had broken the world junior record for 10,000m by a staggering 23 seconds.

In only his second marathon he took the Olympic title in Beijing at only 21 years and 288 days.  The time of 2:06:32 is an Olympic record.

In 2009 he set the course records in both the London and Chicago Marathons.

The circumstances of his death are unfortunate. Last December he was charged with threatening to kill his wife, Triza Njeri, assault and the illegal possession of an AK-47 assault rifle. The first two charges were dropped by his wife but he was about to appear on the charge of possession of the rifle next week. He and his wife had reconciled their differences. But she came home to find him with another woman and apparently locked them in the bedroom. Wanjiru then leapt from the balcony, it is not sure whether it is an attempt at suicide or in rage.

He died as a result of the fall. A fall from Olympic champion to an unhappy domestic situation as well.

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