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    We’re twin sisters, 27, who both secretly battled same disease… now we’re plotting Olympic gold at Paris 2024 together

    TWO TWIN sisters aiming to bring back Olympic gold for Team GB this summer have been battling the same disease since being 13.The 27-year-old Londoners Lina and Laviai Nielsen first started to dream of representing their country in the relay race together while chasing around the primary school field.
    Twin sisters Laviai and Lina Nielsen are hoping to bring back the gold this summerCredit: Rex
    The success of the siblings is even more remarkable after the pair were diagnosed with the same diseaseCredit: Reuters
    That looked set to become reality when they were selected for Britain’s 4x400m team at the 2017 European Indoor Championships.
    However, after a stress fracture in her foot ruled Lina out, it took another five years before the pair were chosen together again.
    But they were unable to compete alongside each other at the 2022 World Championships as Lina suffered a relapse of the multiple sclerosis that both sisters suffer from.
    Up until that point in their careers they had kept it secret after originally being diagnosed aged 13, but the flare-up prompted them to finally reveal their story.
    Laviai is still yet to suffer major symptoms like her sister, and she told BBC Sport: “We’re still deciding not to take medicine because we’re not sure of the side effects.
    “We’ve always been pretty good with our diet and nutrition, but after Lina’s flare-up we’ve taken it even more seriously. So far it’s all gone well.”
    Despite those previous setbacks, the duo are hoping it will be third time lucky after being chosen together again for the World Indoor Championships this weekend in Britain’s 4x400m team.
    Laviai explained how they hope to not only make it to at least the final, but that she is desperate to compete over 400m hurdles and join her sister in a bid for Olympic gold at the Paris Games this summer.
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    And Laviai tried to put into words just exactly what it would mean if they were to stand together on the relay podium.
    She said: “We would definitely celebrate it greatly. It would be huge.”
    Olympic security fears as TOP SECRET police plans for Paris Games including for terror target Stade de France are stolen
    Lina, who finally made her international debut in 2022, has now switched and made the 400m hurdles her primary individual event.
    She added: “There have been so many setbacks along the way.
    “It’s the nature of sport – it is cut-throat. Sometimes you need luck on your side.
    “Hopefully we’re all good this time round. It can’t get better than finally racing together in front of a home crowd.”
    The sisters are hoping it’ll be third time a charm at the World Indoor ChampionshipsCredit: Getty
    Laviai Nielsen pictured winning the 400m ahead of Lina in Birmingham this monthCredit: Rex More

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    Dame Denise Lewis stands down as UK Athletics president after just two months amid BBC Sport pundit row

    DAME Denise Lewis has “temporarily” stood down as president of UK Athletics after just two months in the role.The former Olympic gold medal heptathlon winner landed the gig in December.
    Dame Denise Lewis has stood down as president of UK AthleticsCredit: Getty
    But concerns over integrity were raised after she also decided to continue working as an athletics pundit for BBC Sport.
    And Lewis confirmed on Instagram Stories that she was “temporarily” leaving her UK Athletics role.
    She said: “I’ve had to make the difficult decision to temporarily step away from my role as UKA president – with the upcoming Olympics and a hectic summer ahead.
    “I would only want to accept the role when it can have my full attention.”
    The Times reported this week there were concerns that Lewis’ integrity “could be compromised” due to her duel role at UK Athletics and the BBC.
    Lewis had apparently been accredited for next week’s World Indoor Championships in Glasgow.
    The BBC refused to confirm to the Times whether or not she will be appearing on screens for the event.
    And they did not respond after being asked whether her UK Athletics presidency would compromise her integrity as a pundit either.
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    Lewis’ representatives at M&C Saatchi Merlin also declined to respond on her potential studio appearance in Glasgow.
    Lewis was elected UK Athletics president after the organisation announced annual losses of £3.7million last year.
    Denise Lewis OBE on career challenges, inspirations and winning Olympic gold
    There has been a big decline in revenue from sponsors and organisations — including the BBC.
    Lewis’ announcement that she is “temporarily” stepping down follows Dame Katherine Grainger’s decision before the Tokyo Olympics three years ago.
    She was chairman of UK Sport at the time but temporarily stepped away to work as a BBC commentator for rowing.
    Lewis’ gold Olympics medal came at the Sydney 200 Games.
    Four years earlier, she bagged bronze in Atlanta.
    Lewis was also a gold medallist at the 1998 European Championships.
    And she twice bagged silver at the World Championships in 1997 and 1999 before retiring in 2005. More

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    Glam British athlete Lauryn Davey branded ‘sexiest woman alive’ as she stuns in barely-there bikini

    BRITISH athlete Lauryn Davey stunned fans with her latest Instagram upload.The heptathlete is a British Olympic hopeful and is hopeful of making Paris 2024.
    Lauryn Davey posted this snap from her time away from the trackCredit: instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    She also shared behind the scenes pics of her trainingCredit: instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    She is currently undergoing warm weather trainingCredit: instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    And enjoyed the sea on a pebbly beachCredit: instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    She posted the photos alongside the caption: “Off track and on track bits from camp 🌿⚡️🌷🌞☁️ zero brownie points for guessing my favourite colour 🌱”
    Davey is currently in camp as she ramps up her preparation for the Olympics.
    The upload showcased what she’s been up to in terms of training and away from camp.
    The Welsh heptathlete is a vegan and preaches the benefits of the diet regularly.
    That was referenced in the comments on her post with one fan calling her a “Green goddess”.
    Another wrote: “LAURYN 😭😭😭😭😭”
    A third commented: “Super cute!! You are glowing ✨”
    A fourth wrote: “You are Stunning 😍”
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    She also posed by the hurdlesCredit: instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    Davey regularly gives fans a look at her life away from the trackCredit: Instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    She has 26.5k followers on InstagramCredit: Instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    She regularly visits exotic locations
    While a fifth said: “Sexiest woman alive”
    The heptathlete also studies veganism alongside her training at Swansea University.
    Five celebs that could have been professional athletes including mega movie star and a member of the royal family
    The Team GB hopeful regularly shares pictures of her budding medical profession alongside her studies.
    Lauryn is a fan of open water swimming
    She recently posed in a hot tubCredit: Instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    The stunning blonde modelled several bikinisCredit: Instagram @laurynlouisedavey
    Lauryn also posed on a boatCredit: Instagram @laurynlouisedavey More

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    Olympics icon slams proposed rule change as an ‘April Fool’s joke’ as athletics bosses trial major new format

    ATHLETICS ICON Carl Lewis has slammed proposals to change the long jump event, saying: Is it April Fool’s Day already?SunSport revealed on Monday that World Athletics bosses are trialling a new format where long jumpers use a ‘take-off zone’ rather than a take-off board.
    Carl Lewis has criticised the new proposals to change the long jump formatCredit: AFP
    Lewis won four of his nine Olympic golds in long jumpCredit: Reuters
    The governing body says that data collected during the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest showed that a THIRD of all attempts were recorded as no-jumps.
    The rule experiment will take place throughout this year in lower-level competitions and jumps will be measured from the front of the take-off foot within that zone.
    It will not be part of the Paris 2024 Olympics programme – the competition will remain the same.
    Should it prove successful, if it has the full backing of the top stars, then it could be implemented from 2026 onwards.
    Lewis – winner of four successive Olympic long jump titles between 1984 and 1996 – is not a fan of the concept.
    The American, 62, said: “You’re supposed to wait until April 1st for April Fool’s jokes.
    “Actually, it wouldn’t change the distances that much. You would just see more bad jumps measured.”
    Lewis’s displeasure is also matched by Britain’s leading female long jumper, Jazmin Sawyers, who reckons there are more cons than pros with the idea.
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    The reigning European indoor long champion believes the potential positives are that every jump would count, there could be bigger jumps and it may prevent slipping on the board.
    Yet from her perspective, the negatives are the difficulties to implement it at grassroots level – given the computer technology involved – and the chance it may encourage some to cheat.
    Sawyers also feels there will be less drama, no more super-imposed measurements on TV, the crowd won’t be able to tell if it is a big jump and hitting the take-off board remains “an essential element of the skill”.
    She said: “I think there are a lot of reasons not to do it.
    “I appreciate they’re trying to do something. But this how I view it. I don’t think this particular innovation is a good idea.
    “I’d also just like to say: Can we stop messing with the long jump? Can we just leave it alone?
    “Maybe just try it on some other event. Try something else. I don’t think this is what long jump needs. The idea of speeding up the measuring – that’s great.
    “At the British championship last weekend, it was taking over a minute sometimes to get each result and it was really slowing down the pace of the competition.

    “It made it a bit more boring. When it could have been a bit more exciting.
    “The idea of speeding up the measurement is great. I don’t think you will be able to do that if you bring in this take-off zone.”
    The Stoke leaper, whose personal best is seven metres, added: “We removing an essential element of the skill of long jumping. Part of the skill is that you have to hit the board.
    “If you remove that, it changes the event completely. I don’t think you can then compare the old records to the new records. It just becomes a different event when part of the skill isn’t hitting the board.
    “So much of the drama of the event is whether somebody will hit the board or not. It’s whether they were this close.
    “Was it a foul? Was it not a foul? That drama is removed and really we’re doing something different.
    “Yes, we’re still just jumping into sand. But the idea that we are trying to hit a certain mark is part of the skill.
    “If runners didn’t have to go at the gun and they could go whenever they felt like, and we just took the fastest time, it’d be just a time trial.
    “It would be a different event. I think this will make it a different event.
    “I don’t think there is anything wrong with the long jump. I think having the board is part of the drama.”
    Carl Lewis ranked in the top five sportsmen of the 20th centuryCredit: EPA More

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    Olympics athletic event may never look the same with plans to trial radical new format

    THE LONG jump competition will undergo a radical change – as athletes take a leap of faith into the future.World Athletics bosses are trialling a new format where long jumpers use a “take-off zone” rather than a take-off board.
    World Athletics chiefs are planning major changes in the long jump eventCredit: Keith Campbell – The Sun Glasgow
    Trials will start taking place in the lower competitionsCredit: Getty
    Long jumpers will use a “take-off zone” rather than a take-off board.Credit: Getty
    Data collected during the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest showed that a THIRD of all attempts were recorded as no-jumps.
    The rule experiment will take place throughout this year in lower-level competitions and jumps will be measured from the front of the take-off foot within that zone.
    If the tests are successful – and if the competitors fully embrace and love the concept – then it could become permanent for the event from 2026 onwards.
    Jon Ridgeon, 57, a former British athlete and now CEO of World Athletics, said: “We’re looking at all of the disciplines, particularly the field events, and going: ‘Right, how do we make them better?’
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    “At the World Championships in Budapest last summer, a third of all the jumps were no-jumps where athletes stepped over the front of the take-off board.
    “Well, that doesn’t work. That’s a waste of time. So we’re testing at the moment a take-off zone rather than a take-off board.
    “We’ll measure from where the athlete takes off to where they land in the pit.
    “That means every single jump counts. It adds to the jeopardy and drama in the competition.
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    “At the same time we’re working out ways we can get instant results so you don’t have to wait 20-30 seconds before the result pops up.
    “How can we speed up the whole competition? It’s a whole range of innovation we’re looking at based on hopefully robust data.”
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    Britain have had three Olympic long jump champions – Mary Rand (1964), Lynn Davies (1964) and Greg Rutherford (2012).
    The men’s world record is 8.95 metres set by American Mike Powell in Tokyo in 1991 while the top women’s mark of 7.52 metres was established in 1988 by Russian Galina Chistyakova.
    Ridgeon – who won 110 hurdles silver at the 1987 World Championships in Rome ahead of Colin Jackson – accepts that the traditionalists may not be happy.
    Especially as the event was part of the 1896 Olympics for the men while women starting jumping at the 1948 London Games.
    Speaking on the Great British Bosses series on the Anything but Footy podcast, he said: “We’ll spend this year testing it in real life circumstances with very good athletes.
    “If it doesn’t pass testing, we’ll never introduce it.
    Measures have to pass testing
    “So, we aren’t going to introduce things on a whim because one of us thinks it’s a good idea.
    “Yes, it’s going to be based on good data. Yes, we’re going to test it really well.
    “If you have dedicated your life to hitting that take-off board perfectly and then suddenly we replace it with a take-off zone, I totally get that there might be initial resistance.
    “As long as it is based on good testing and good data, I think eventually it’ll work through.
    “It will not be without its controversy. You cannot make change in a sport that was basically invented 150 years ago without some controversy. But I think it’s worth doing.
    “Ultimately this is about not this year, but making sure we have got a sport that is hopefully fit for purpose for another 150 years.”
    In the summer of 2026, World Athletics will introduce a new global competition that will run in the years where there are no World Championships or Olympic Games.
    This World Cup of Athletics will be staged with countries pitted against each other in semi-final and final stages. The host city will be announced this year.
    + Listen to the whole interview which is part of the Great British Bosses series on the Anything but Footy podcast More

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    Controversial British athletics icon Dwain Chambers to make shock return to competitive sprinting aged 45

    DWAIN CHAMBERS will run in a competitive race at the age of 45, yet he should really forget all about winning!Despite his dodgy drugs past, UK Athletics are open to him working with and talking to the current generation about his chequered past and complicated history.
    Dwain Chambers is still competingCredit: PA
    He is unlikely to qualify for the World Indoor ChampionshipsCredit: PA
    In his pomp, Chambers was one of the best sprinters around, winning bronze at the 100 metres at world level in 1999 plus gold over 60 metres indoors in Doha 14 years ago.
    But infamously, he was caught up in the USA BALCO doping scandal – in 2003, he tested positive for a banned steroid, was suspended from the sport for two years and was stripped of some medals.
    Chambers probably should have retired by now and given up competition but he will be the oldest person in the field at the two-day UK Athletics Indoor Championships in Birmingham.
    UKA Olympic Head Coach Paula Dunn said: “The reality is he’s not going to qualify for the World Indoors with the standards.
    “He enjoys his athletics. He’s qualified as right.
    “He’s doing great work down in Lee Valley with his academy. So like every other athlete, he can continue to race.
    “I don’t think he has aspirations, realistically, to go to the World Indoors (in Glasgow) but he’s running very well for somebody who’s in his mid-forties.
    “Some people enjoy keeping fit and competing. He obviously feels he has more to give.
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    “And like any athlete he feels he wants to reach his full potential at the age of 45.
    “As a sport, we’re inclusive. So, he’s welcome to do that.”
    British track sprinter Dwain Chambers races a HORSE ahead of Cheltenham
    It is ten years since he last ran in GB colours, notably finishing fourth in the 100 metres final at the European Championships in Zurich.
    That year, he also ran at the 2014 World Indoors in Sopot, Poland, but came sixth as Teesside Tornado Richard Kilty claimed the 60-metre title.
    Some will not forgive Chambers for his indiscretions and UKA policy prevents someone who has served a drugs ban from being employed as a national coach.
    Dunn would have no issue potentially bringing him into a UKA camp on a one-off basis, especially as he tried to redeem himself, teaching people about the pitfalls of cheating.
    She said: “Dwain has done lots of workshops telling youngsters about the dangers and how you have to say focused on what you are trying to achieve without taking shortcuts.
    “So for me, it’s a story of redemption. He got caught, he owned up to it and he has tried to make the best of a situation.
    “If he can educate people about the pitfalls, I think that’s a bonus.
    “Sometimes the best people to give the message is the person who has suffered through some consequences.
    “So it is not off the table but I haven’t actually thought about it. Long-term, it could be something that could be useful for the programme.
    “As an adviser and as a speaker to athletes in the areas that he talks in at the moment then he could be useful.”
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    I’m Britain’s second fastest woman and a fashion model with Kate Moss’s ex-agency

    FASHION-LOVING Daryll Neita shines on both the running track and the red carpet after being spotted by Kate Moss’s first modelling agency.Britain’s second-ever fastest woman can casually switch between spikes and stilettos and loves to wear high-end clothes outside of sweaty athletics kit.
    Daryll Neita lives and trains in Italy and recently attended a fashion show in MilanCredit: Instagram / daryllneita
    The British sprinter studied fashion at college and it is one of her hobbiesCredit: 2022 Franziska Krug
    Those who will follow her journey to the start line of the Paris 2024 Olympics should realise she has a real passion away from the day job of running in a straight line.
    Neita, who trains in Padua in Northern Italy, told SunSport: “I studied fashion at college. At the time people were so confused.
    “They were like: ‘Why aren’t you doing sports science?’ But that’s not my interest.
    “I might be good at sports and do it every day but when it comes to being creative or having an outlet, I’m interested in fashion. That has always been my thing.
    “I was signed to Storm Model Management. They’re pretty big. They actually scouted Kate Moss when she was younger.
    “During the off-season, I went to Milan Fashion week. I sat front row for the Missoni show.
    “I’m always doing bits and bobs in the fashion space – and I love it.
    “People always ask me what I’d do if I wasn’t in track and honestly it’d definitely be something in fashion. It’s the other side to me.”
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    Athletes sometimes do ‘walk-ins’ before competitions to showcase their personalities and life outside of track-and-field.
    American Noah Lyles, the reigning 100 metres and 200 metres world champion, is someone who has brought style and fashion to the sport.
    British longer jumper Jazmin Sawyers is a creative soul and likes to design her own clothes ahead of meets.
    Neita, whose fashion idol is Naomi Campbell, said: “It’s important to feel good out there.
    “I don’t see why being a sporty person means you cannot also be cool or fashionable.
    “Yes, running fast is the main thing. But life is also about who you are as a person.
    “I feel people are tapping into their hobbies more and you’re probably seeing that with their fashion.
    “Noah is always dressed in something cool. Always doing the fashion walk-ins.
    “He does ask me sometimes: ‘Are you going to walk before the race?’ Honestly, I don’t think I’m there yet where I’m thinking about my pre-race outfit.
    “Maybe next season you’ll see me in a couple of looks before a race.”
    Neita – who finished fifth in the women’s 200 metres final at last year’s World Athletics Championships – has a PB of 10.90 seconds and 22.16 seconds for the two sprints.
    The Jamaicans and Americans rule the world over these disciplines but Neita, 27, hopes to be in the mix for the medals at this summer’s Olympics.
    Power and strength was built up over the winter in the gym and on the track.
    She has not long returned to Europe after a warm-weather training camp in Stellenbosch, South Africa, which was funded by National Lottery money.
    Neita, 27, who opened her year over 60 metres in Paris last Sunday, added: “I’m on the World-Class Programme. I get supported with things like that training camp.
    “Without it, we would be training in the snow in the UK!

    “The funding helps us in so many different ways. Whether it’s medical or travel or assistance. Even for our mental health.
    “I train with people from different nations and they don’t get anything from their federations. And yet they are individual medallists. We are very, very fortunate.”
    National Lottery players have transformed athletics in the UK with more than £300million invested since Lottery funding began. They support elite athletes to win medals on the world stage and have invested in clubs, facilities and programmes across the country to enable more people to take part in the sport. More

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    Who was Kelvin Kiptum’s coach Garvais Hakizimana?

    KELVIN Kiptum of Kenya smashed the world record by 34 seconds when he won the Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2023.Here we take a look at the life and untimely death of the runner’s coach Garvais Hakizimana.
    Kelvin Kiptum and Gervais Hakizimana posing next to the clock marking Kiptum’s world record time at the the Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2023Credit: AFP
    Who was Kelvin Kiptum’s coach Garvais Hakizimana?
    Hakizimana, who hails from Rwanda, was a runner who first travelled to Kenya at the age of 18 in 2006 to train for the 2007 World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa.
    But just a few months later, when post-election violence erupted, he was forced to flee the country.
    According to the Marathon Handbook, Hakizimana met Kiptum while he was training in the town of Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County, Kenya — Kiptum was among the hang-ons who used to join the Rwandese man whenever he was training. 
    We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais HakizimanaLord Sebastian Coe
    A decade ago, when Kiptum was barely a teen, he herded sheep and goats before he began following Hakizimana and other runners as they trained.
    Before becoming a coach, Hakizimana was an athlete who competed against then-world record holder Eliud Kipchoge in the 2016 London Marathon — with Kipchoge winning the race.
    What was Garvais Hakizimana’s cause of death?
    Both Hakizimana and Kiptum were tragically killed in a motoring accident in the town of Kapsabet, Western Kenya.
    Hakizimana was 36 years old at the time of his passing, while Kiptum was just 24.
    The London Marathon-winning long-distance runner and his coach lost their lives after Kiptum lost control of his vehicle, before landing in a ditch and colliding with a tree.
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    According to reports a third passenger, Sharon Kosgey, was also in the car at the time of the collision.
    She survived the impact but suffered serious injuries and was rushed to Racecourse Hospital to receive medical attention.
    The crash happened at approximately 11pm (8pm GMT) on Sunday, February 11, 2024, Elgeyo Marakwet Police Cmdr Peter Mulinge told the Nation newspaper.
    How Kelvin Kiptum went from borrowing shoes to winning London MarathonKelvin Kiptum was renowned for being the only person in history to run the marathon in under two hours and one minute.
    But the Kenyan, 24, had to rise from the depths of poverty prior to his remarkable success.
    When he lined up for his first major local competition in 2018, Kiptum did so wearing borrowed running shoes because he could not afford a pair of his own.
    Kiptum began his career on the road, breaking away from the past tradition of athletes starting on the track before switching to longer distances.
    But that wasn’t out of choice.
    Kiptum claims he made the decision purely because of a lack of resources.
    “I had no money to travel to track sessions,” he explained to BBC Sport Africa.
    “My training place is far from a track, so I started training with road-running guys – and that’s how I got into marathon.”

    He added: “This was a self-involved accident where one Kelvin Kiptum, the world marathon record holder, was driving his vehicle with two passengers.
    “Kiptum and Hakizimana died on the spot and the third person was rushed to Racecourse hospital in Eldoret.”
    What has been said about his death?
    President of World Athletics Lord Sebastian Coe released a statement reading: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.
    “On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, team mates and the Kenyan nation.
    “It was only earlier this week in Chicago, the place where Kelvin set his extraordinary marathon World Record, that I was able to officially ratify his historic time.
    “An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly.”
    Former Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga paid tribute on X, formerly Twitter, writing: “Devastating news as we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual, Kelvin Kiptum, world record holder and Kenyan athletics icon.
    “Together with his coach, they tragically passed on in an accident tonight.
    “My deepest condolences to his loved ones, friends, and the entire athletics fraternity.
    Our nation grieves the profound loss of a true hero.”
    London Marathon organisers also honoured Garvais and Kelving, saying: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear the terrible news of the death of marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.
    “The thoughts of everyone at the TCS London Marathon are with Kelvin’s and Gervais’ family and friends.”
    Why it took Kiptum 23 YEARS to agree to run a marathonKiptum may have been a world record holder and champion but it took a lot of convincing to get him to run in the first place.
    According to his coach Garvais Hakizimana – who died alongside him this week – Kiptum needed time to warm up to the idea of running a marathon.
    The Kenyan initially feared that it might be too tough.
    “He had some fear and preferred the shorter half-marathon until 2022 when he finally agreed to a marathon,” Hakizimana told BBC Sport Africa.
    Fast forward a few years and Kiptum would have 42km triumphs in Valencia, London and Chicago.
    But there were also other complications getting in the way of Kiptum fulfilling his potential.
    Kiptum had to convince his family that he could make it in athletics.
    His father had been adamant that he should go to college instead.
    “He wanted me to study to pursue my diploma to be an electrician but I was saying that I needed to be an athlete – I had that passion,” Kiptum recalled.
    “That period was very hard for me because I trained for four years, yet there were no successes and they were disappointed in me. But I kept on pushing.”
    Eventually his father came around, even occasionally helping him get to early morning training on time. More