Paul Koech Image Credit: AP

Nairobi: Paul Koech, a former world half-marathon champion and long-time teammate of Kenyan great Paul Tergat, has died. He was 49.

The Kenyan track-and-field federation said on Wednesday that Koech died on Monday after a short illness. The federation did not release any more details.

“Paul was a great track, cross-country and road-racing athlete,” Athletics Kenya said.

Koech won the world half-marathon championship in Zurich in 1998. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, he finished sixth in the 10,000 metres and the following year was fourth at the world championships. Tergat won silver in both of those races.

In 1997, Koech ran the third-fastest 10,000m in history, finishing second behind Tergat as his friend broke the world record in the event.

The IAAF said it was “deeply saddened” to hear of Koech’s death.