Kenyan court orders husband of late Olympian Tirop to undergo mental check

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A Kenyan court ordered Ibrahim Rotich, husband to the slain Olympian Agnes Titop, to undergo a mental check before he takes a plea on November 16, according to a court official.

"Directions are hereby given that the accused person be escorted for mental assessment at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and he be produced before the duty judge on 16th of November 2021 for plea taking," said Diana Milimo, deputy registrar of the High Court in Eldoret.

This followed another ruling from a lower court which directed that there is enough evidence to charge him with her murder.

"From reports from the forensic department, the government chemist, and Mpesa analysis reports, we are confident to say that we have overwhelming evidence that connects the suspect or the respondent before the court to the murder of Agnes Jebet Tirop," said Judith Ayuma, state prosecutor.

A double world championships bronze medallist tipped for future stardom on the track, Tirop was buried in a white casket in central Kenya on what would have been her 26th birthday in October 23.

Many Kenyan athletes see sporting success as their ticket out of poverty and get their start in training camps which are unregulated and notorious hotbeds of sexual misconduct.

In the wake of Tirop's death, current and former elite runners have spoken up about the trials endured by young female athletes.

Many are breadwinners for extended families and vulnerable to financial exploitation at the hands of coaches, agents and even loved ones.

"Don't suffer in silence," said Father Dominic Ratemo, who delivered the sermon during the church service before Tirop was buried near her family home.

"Agnes was too young to die."

Her husband Ibrahim, commonly known as Emmanuel, Rotich, was arrested last week in the coastal town of Mombasa after a dramatic late-night chase. Police had earlier said he was the prime suspect in their case.

Athletics Kenya announced on Saturday that the Kenyan leg of the World Cross Country Tour would be named after Tirop.

Born to a peasant farming family, Tirop launched her athletics career less than a decade ago but swiftly ran up a host of second-place finishes in national and international cross country races.

She went on to become one of Kenya's rising stars -- as the 2015 world cross-country champion, a two-time world medallist over 10000m, and came fourth over 5000m at the Tokyo Olympics this year.

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