9 August 2018

Kenya: Family Plans Fallen Hurdles King's Burial

Former 400m hurdles World Champion Nicholas Bett, whose stellar career came to a tragic end in a road accident on Wednesday, will be buried next Friday at his Simat home in Uasin Gishu County.

The 2015 world champion in the 400 metres hurdles was scheduled to fly out today to Istanbul where he had secured a running contract with Turkish Club Fenerbahce Istanbul, his family revealed on Thursday.

Speaking at their Simat family home, Bett's twin brother Aaron Koech said Bett was booked on a flight tonight to Istanbul, and decided to make a quick dash upcountry before travelling as he had also just arrived from Nigeria where he represented Kenya at the 21st African Athletics Championships.

"The last call was 11pm on Tuesday where he called me and confirmed that he will be coming home," said Koech.

His twin brother Aaron Koech remembers his last moments saying that he encouraged them as a team to go for nothing else other than a gold medal in the 4x400m relay event during the just concluded African Athletics Championships in Asaba, Delta State.

Koech said that after missing a medal in the 400m hurdles, he went to the call room and encouraged the team to do their best and bag a medal in the finals.

"Before our last race in Asaba, my brother came to my room and asked me to work for that gold medal and later also came to the call room where he encouraged us to work hard. He was in a jovial mood and he asked us to make our country proud by winning the race," said Koech.

After coming back to Kenya, Bett was to meet his brother but because he had a hamstring injury, he changed his plans and decided to go and see a doctor for treatment.

"We were supposed to meet on Tuesday in Nairobi where he was to give me a laptop to take it to our younger sister but later changed the plans. I decided to travel home by road that afternoon," said the brother.

Koech said that he will take care of the two children left by his late brother and the wife as his sister.

"I loved my brother so much and I will take care of his family very well. They will not lack anything from me," he added.

The wife Gladys was still distraught when Nation Sport talked to her in Simat.

"He (Bett) was to leave for Turkey for some competitions but he made a quick decision of coming home to see the family. I even talked to him on phone that morning and he assured me that we would meet later in the day but I didn't know that was our last conversation.

Betts' father Joseph Boit, who is also the Uasin Gishu Athletics Kenya branch chairman said that he had lost a promising son with a bright future.

"I was with him before they went to Nigeria for the championships and when he came back, I just talked to him on phone and he was in a jovial mood. He told me he won't be coming home but he later decided to come and see us but unfortunately the accident happened," said Boit.

His shocked father couldn't believe that his son had died and had to go to go to the scene of the accident to see for himself.

Bett's mother Esther Boit could only say she was deeply saddened by the death of her son.

His sister Nancy Boit, who is the last born in the family, said that her brother was the best brother any sister could have and used to assist her in many ways. She said she had been looking forward to receiving a laptop he had promised her before she joined university in September.

Bett was the third-born in the family. He was driving his Toyota Landcruiser Prado along Cengalo-Lessos-Kapsabet road on the fateful night when his vehicle rolled and landed in a ditch after hitting a speed bump and the front left wheel came off.

Bett went to Simat Primary School before joining Paul Boit High School. He later transferred to Cheptil High School with his brother. They two brothers joined the National Police Service upon completion of their 'O' level education.

Bett was a police officer based at Kondele Police Station, Kisumu as a traffic officer.

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