Athletics: Kenya's Samuel Wanjiru killed, not suicide: Pathologist

NAIROBI (AFP) - Former Kenyan Olympic marathon gold medallist Samuel Wanjiru was killed by a blunt object to his head and did not commit suicide, a top pathologist told an inquest Tuesday.

Wanjiru, 24, was found dead in May 2011 after he fell from the first-floor balcony of his house in central Kenya's Nyahururu town.

At the time it was reported that the runner was having an extra-marital affair and leapt from the balcony to escape his furious wife. Police also suggested he may have committed suicide.

Moses Njue, a former chief government pathologist, told the inquest in Nairobi that Wanjiru had survived the fall from the balcony, but was then killed with a blow to the head from a "blunt object."

Injuries on his hands and knees from the fall showed the athlete landed "cat-style" from the balcony, with Njue saying he was "convinced that the deceased was hit after he fell on the ground by another person."

Wanjiru's hard and fast marathoning style revolutionised the sport and set the stage for string of world record-breaking runs by other Kenyan runners.

His victory at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he ran an Olympic record of 2:06.32 in extreme heat and secured the country's first Olympic gold for the distance, is widely considered to be the greatest marathon performance of all time.

The government ordered an inquest after three separate post mortems suggested different causes of death.

The inquest continues, with more than 30 people expected to be called to give evidence.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.