Runners Are Targets Amid Kenya Strife

Athletes meet over accusations of stirring up violence
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2008 9:29 PM CST
Former athlete Toby Tanser of Sweden, who lives in New York and was representing the New York Road Runners Board of Directors, center-right, and Kenyan long-distance runner Robert Cheruiyot, second from...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Some of the world's best runners have been receiving death threats as conflict continues in their native Kenya, where rumors circulate that the athletes were involved in stirring up ethnic killings. Top Kenyan runners are meeting in the town of Eldoret to discuss their response, the AP reports. "I am scared. We are scared," says a Kenyan athletics official.

William Mutwol—a bronze medalist in the steeplechase at the 1992 Olympics—received a threatening text message reading, "We want your head" during this week's meeting. And former Olympic runner Lucas Sang was hacked to death Dec. 31, one of 700 to die in post-election violence. The runners have released a statement saying they don't know who is behind the rumors. (Read more Kenya stories.)