Kenya’s Former World Champion Athlete Nicholas Bett Dies in Road Accident

Kenya’s former 400m hurdles world champion Nicholas Bett has died in a road accident aged 28, the country’s ministry of sports and heritage said on Wednesday.

Nicholas Bett of Kenya presents his gold medal on the podium after the men’s 400 metres hurdles event during the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China, August 26, 2015. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Bett died in Nandi county, north west Kenya after his car hit bumps and rolled into a ditch. He was on his way to visit a friend, less than 48 hours after returning home from the Africa Championships in Nigeria on Tuesday.

Photographs of Bett arriving at the airport show him in high spirits, looking forward to recovering from an injury which had forced him to pull out halfway through the Africa Champ’s 400m hurdles final a few days ago. He was determined to compete at next year’s IAAF World Championship in Doha, Qatar… where he wanted to reclaim his crown.

“Former 400m hurdles World Champion Nicholas Bett has died in a road accident… On behalf of the sporting fraternity and @moscakenya I convey my sincerest condolences to his family. Rest in peace,” Kenya sports cabinet secretary Rashid Echesa said on Twitter.

The ministry of sports and heritage later retweeted the message from their official handle. Athletics Kenya also confirmed the news.

Bett won the 400m hurdles at the 2015 world championships in Beijing to give Kenya their first gold medal at a distance shorter than 800m.

His twin brother Haron Koech is also a hurdler and was part of the Kenyan 4×400 team which won gold at last week’s African Championships.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly and Jenni Baxter)