Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Olympic star's mystery death plunge

Sammy Wanjiru celebrates following his victory in the Men's race at the 2009 London Marathon

Kenyan Olympic marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru died in a fall from a balcony after a domestic dispute involving his wife and another woman, police have said.

One officer said Wanjiru committed suicide, while another said he jumped to stop his wife from leaving the house after she discovered him with another woman.

The 24-year-old runner died after jumping from the balcony at his home in the town of Nyahururu, in the Rift Valley.

"The fact of the matter is that Wanjiru committed suicide," said a spokesman.

Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere also said initial reports indicated Wanjiru killed himself, though a local official offered a different account.

"Wanjiru came home with another woman friend at around 11.30pm and then when his wife came home and found them she inquired who the lady was," area police chief Jasper Ombati said. "They got into an argument. His wife locked them in the bedroom and ran off.

"He then jumped from the bedroom balcony. He is not here to tell us what he thinking when he jumped. We do not suspect foul play. In our estimation we think he wanted to stop his wife from leaving the compound."

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Wanjiru became the first Kenyan to win a gold medal in the marathon, finishing in an Olympic-record 2 hours, 6 minutes, 32 seconds.

Wanjiru had a history of domestic problems. Last December, he was charged with wounding his security guard with a rifle and threatening to kill his wife and maid. The runner denied all charges and was released on bail.

Wanjiru became the youngest runner to win four major marathons. In addition to the Olympics, he won in London in 2009 and in Chicago in 2009 and 2010, in the process running the fastest ever time recorded in a marathon in the United States.

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