Ugandan Athletes are mourning the death of 3,000-meter steeplechase Champion Benjamin Kiplagat. Kiplagat was murdered Saturday in Eldoret, Kenya.
Stephen Kiprotich, the Olympic and World Marathon Champion, described Kiplagat as a role model to many shining athletes in Uganda like Jacob Araptany, Peruth Chemutai, and Joshua Cheptegei.
"It's a pity that we have lost a brother to Ugandan Athletes. His painful death sets a need for fellow athletes to always take charge of their security to avoid similar future occurrences," he said.
Joshua Cheptegei, the three-time world Champion in the 10,000 meters, describes Kiplangat's death as a blow to Ugandan athletics especially when it comes to supporting upcoming stars. "I remember Kiplagat as generous and loving and an example of success to many athletes," says Cheptegei.
According to Cheptegei, Kiplagat encouraged and motivated him while training in Kenya in 2014 with him and other athletes at the Global Sports Communication camp in Eldoret, Kenya.
The 2010 Commonwealth double gold medalist in 10,000 and 5,000 meters champion Kipsiro, says Kiplagat's role in the 3,000-meter steeplechase is irreplaceable.
He explains that Kiplangat cherished team spirit while representing Uganda at world athletics events like the Olympics, and world championships among others.
Stella Chesang, Uganda's National record marathon holder, remembers Kiplagat for his generosity and support to other fellow athletes. "Very many athletes have received support from him inform of training kits like, shoes, tracksuits, and competition kits among others," says Chesang.
Isaac Kiplagat, the 2014 World Mountain Champion, described the deceased as an Athletics Patriot who loved running with all the passion. "He loved what he did and it's for that very reason that he achieved in most of his athletics mission" states Kiprop.
He adds "Benjamin had a slogan that always motivated us the athletes, he used to say, "If you don't know what you want in running, running will forget you" an inspirational quote that motivates many".
The President of Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) Dominic Toucher, says Benjamin Kiplagat was a loyal middle and long distance runner right.
Kiplagat began his career by competing in the 10,000 meters during the 2004 World Junior Championships.
He made his international debut at the 2006 World Cross Country Championships, having qualified by finishing 6th in the Ugandan Junior Cross Country Championships.
At the World Junior Championships, he set a new national record of 8:35.77, which he then lowered to 8:34.14 in the final, and finished 6th.
In 2008, he finished 4th in the World Cross Country Championships. In the same year, he lowered the Uganda record to 8:16.06 and then 8:14.29 before finishing second in the World Junior Championships.
In the 2009 season, despite being disrupted by sickness, he managed to further lower the Ugandan national record to 8:12.98.
In 2010, he again lowered the Ugandan record to 8:03.81. He finished 4th at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.