How Bett’s talent was tapped while in school

By JONATHAN KOMEN AND KEVIN TUNOI: Saturday, August 11th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
Haron Bett (in blue t-shirt) the twin brother of fallen 400M hurdler Nicholas Bett receives mourners at their home in Simat village, Uasin Gishu County. The athlete died in a grisly road accident at Sochoi area along the Nabkpoi-Kapsabet road. He will be buried on the 17th August. 09-08-2018. PHOTO BY: KEVIN TUNOI

Nicholas Kiplagat Bett, the 2015 world 400m hurdles champion who perished in a road accident on Tuesday, loved sports since he was a toddler.

With his elder brother Haron Koech, a member of the Africa 4x400m gold winning team, they threw the attention of  many sports personalities.

Amos Rono noticed Bett’s abilities at an early age. Rono’s home is just a stone’s throw away from the Bett family. Bett will be buried on Friday at his home in Simat Village in Uasin Gishu County.

“It is a big blow to Kenya and sports world. I noticed his talent in volleyball and athletics while he was a pupil at Simat Primary School, where I teach until now. He loved volleyball and athletics, which I think he inherited from his father Joseph Boit, who was a strong sportsman,” said Rono. “Bett led our primary school team to national championships in Mombasa.”

“Bett was a good listener. He took instructions keenly. You know volleyball and 400m hurdles are technical events, which an athlete must pay close attention. I loved the way he put into practice the skills I taught him,” he said.

Bett joined Paul Boit High School in Uasin Gishu and then transferred to Cheptil High School in Nandi. He led Cheptil to East and Central Africa volleyball title in 2009.

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Kipchumba Maiyo, then the Principal Cheptil High, described Bett as, “an icon of Kenyan sports.”

“I coached volleyball and Bett proved he was a team player. He guided every activity in what impressed many of us. It’s a big blow to lose such a young multi-talented athlete,” said Maiyo, now vice chairman Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association. Isaac Kirwa, a neighbour and Kenya Police athletics head coach, said Bett’s good shows on the track will inspire budding sprinters.

Gladys, Bett’s wife, said: “It has happened and there is nothing much we can say or do, we loved him. He was hard working and he has left a big gap.”

She also posted on Facebook, giving a moving tribute to him. “I thank God for the moments we shared. I will treasure them forever.

“I have known you to be a person of dignity, a man who never gave up, you believed in your dreams, you loved your family more than anything...I’ll always remember your words every morning that ‘babe I have told you that I’m not only your husband, but also your dad.” 

“I felt safe in your hands. Words can never describe your kindness. Those who were close to you know the kind of a person you were to your daughters.”

His father, Joseph Boit, said: “I’m sad I have lost my third-born child. He had a bright future in the athletics.

“We ask Kenyans to pray for us during these trying times and we thank everyone for the continuous support and show of love to our family.”