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Kenya’s 2015 World 400m hurdles Champion Nicholas Bett has died in a road accident.

The sad news was confirmed in the early hours of Wednesday, August 8, with reports saying the vehicle he was traveling in hit a bump, veered off the road and rolled.

The accident happened in Nandi, Uasin Gishu County, and the news of his demise was confirmed by his family and Nandi Police Commander Patrick Wambani.

The statement read: “We regrets to learn of the sudden demise of one of our top athletes, the 2015 400m Hurdles World Champion #NicholasKiplagatBett who represented Kenya in the just concluded Africa Championships.

“Our condolences to his family and the entire athletics fraternity”

His trainer, Vincent Mumo, said that the athlete’s SUV hit bumps in the road and rolled as it went off the tarmac in the high-altitude training region in west Kenya early on Wednesday morning.

Bett, 28, became the first Kenyan to win a World title in the sprints when he strode to victory at the 2015 Worlds at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, China.

His winning time of 47.79 seconds not only saw him best a strong field but also break Eric Keter’s national record of 48.24 which was set 22 years earlier in 1993.

The former volleybaler won two bronze medals (400m hurdles and 4x400m relays) at the 2014 Africa Championships in Marrakech, Morocco.

His twin brother, Haron Koech, is also a 400m hurdler.

Bett also competed in the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and 2018, finishing eighth in Gold Coast earlier this year, and was part of Kenya’s 4x400m relay at both events.

Following his triumphant victory at the Beijing World Championships, Bett went into the Rio 2016 Olympic Games among the favourites for gold, but stumbled on the final hurdle in his heat and failed to qualify for the semi-finals after being disqualified.

Mark F. silveronline24/SilverFM

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