A day after The Christian Post (TCC) reported on the death of Kenyan female gymnast Agnes Tirop, there was more good news. The village of Kwale in Kenya has, according to Kenya News Now, begun burying her, more than two weeks after she died from injuries suffered in an attack.
Tirop was beaten in her home village of Kianda Ndangi last Wednesday and died at the hospital days later. Her father was hospitalized after being tortured by people who, according to his arrest warrant, were seeking a ransom for his daughter’s safe return.
Tirop, 20, won three gold medals and a silver medal in the Kenyan National Youth and Senior Olympic Games.
Kuperma, the village, was supposed to receive a feast prepared by Tirop’s family.
Diane Hanson, Tirop’s best friend, told The Christian Post what happened on that fateful day when she was attacked:
She was sleeping in a small hut on top of a small structure with her brother and another friend. They woke up when somebody kicked the door down and one of them realized that their phone was out and they couldn’t call anyone. The man then started swinging at them, trying to hit them, but they got up and started running. One of them was hit in the leg very badly and then he became very dizzy and disoriented because he was bleeding from the leg and then blood started pouring out from the head wound. Then they all jumped on top of a tree and started screaming. They couldn’t see where the assailants were, so they just ran and hid under the tree until they heard the police cars arrive.
Tirop returned to her home village last year after her Olympic success, but returning didn’t make the life there any easier for her. Kianda had become a dangerous place to live for the young woman, due to a longstanding dispute between local chiefs, who were preventing her from getting proper treatment for her injuries.
“It was even a dangerous place for an athlete like my friend Agnes Tirop to go back to because the village’s traditional chief had approached the federal government and said that he won’t allow her to go back to the village because we are our own and we can solve all our own problems. So she was afraid of going back,” Tirop’s mother, Jane Adan, told The Christian Post last week.
She added that, in addition to the assault on her daughter, the one-time gold medalist had been physically and verbally abused on her first day back.
Tirop’s victory in the 2016 Rio Olympics was a tremendous accomplishment for her. The Kenyan national women’s gymnastics team had been banned from international competition after the nation’s previous Olympic team was disqualified for possessing doping substances.
After the Rio victory, Tirop’s achievement prompted a positive message from her father about what he calls the triumph of the human spirit.
“The boy who beat my daughter has become very generous, very kind, very generous, so when you call him, if you give him money, he will give you money, just remember that you cannot repay them, but you can [rather] say that you have been prayed for by God and have been invited to the land of plenty,” Tirop’s father, Peter Tirop, said.
Tibetan monks and several hundred supporters attended Tirop’s funeral on Sunday, hoping to spread Tirop’s words of “the triumph of the human spirit” throughout the world.
“We love all of you and we really thank all of you. Agnes Tirop was a human being, not only an athlete. Agnes Tirop is a mother, she is a sister, she is a daughter, she is a daughter in law, she is a niece. And so every person can say that she is family. Agnes Tirop means mother. That is a very powerful word in our world,” Tirop’s uncle Chris Kamande said.
The Sports Ministry in Kenya is investigating who is responsible for the attack on Tirop and her family.