A Kenyan marathon runner was fatally shot with an arrow, the second international athlete to die as Kenya struggles with an explosion of postelection chaos, a sports official and fellow athlete said Tuesday.
Wesly Ngetich, 34, won the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn., in 2005 and 2007.
He and at least a dozen other Kenyans withdrew from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon because of the political strife in Kenya.
David Okeyo, head of Athletics Kenya, the governing body for Kenyan sports, confirmed Ngetich’s death but had no details on the circumstances. Police had no immediate comment.
Another athlete, the former Olympic runner Lucas Sang, was hacked to death in western Kenya during the election violence.
A fellow athlete said Ngetich was caught in the crossfire of a dispute between two ethnic groups Monday in Trans Mara, on the outskirts of Kenya’s legendary Masai Mara game reserve.
The death had nothing to do with the election violence, said William Yiampoy, a neighbor and one of Kenya’s top 800-meter runners.
“It’s not true he died because of the election violence in Kenya,” Yiampoy told The Associated Press, citing eyewitnesses in their village.
He said a man from Ngetich’s tribe had shot a boy with an arrow, and the other group was avenging the attack. Ngetich was hit accidentally, Yiampoy said.
“We’re shocked because we became very good friends with Wesly,” said Scott Keenan, executive director of Grandma’s Marathon. “The city of Duluth kind of adopted him, and he kind of adopted the city of Duluth, and we were expecting him to return and defend his title.”
“This was really his main focus, to become a moneymaker from running,” Makke said.