Haron Koech has made a New Year’s resolution to take after his late twin brother Nicholas Bett and honour him by reclaiming the world 400 metres hurdles.
Already, just like his brother, who died in a road accident in August last year, Koech has turned professional and signed up with Turkish club Fenerbahce Istanbul which had contracted Bett.
Koech, a member of Kenya’s gold medal-winning 4x400 metres relay team at last year’s African Championships in Asaba, Nigeria, has meanwhile shifted his training base from Kasarani to the north Rift where he’s juggling sessions between Eldoret and Iten.
Bett clocked 47.70 seconds to stun the field and win the 400 metres hurdles world title at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
Koech, who turns 29 on January 27, now wants to reclaim that title when the Qatari capital of Doha hosts this year’s IAAF World Championships at the Khalifa Stadium from September 27 to October 6.
He has been concentrating his training at Lornah Kiplagat’s High Altitude Training centre with speed work sessions on the track and gym work at the centre’s health club. Koech told Nation Sport yesterday that he was advised by his Turkish coach, Santa Daniel Mihai, to change his training base so that he could also train with other athletes under the same management.
“I was advised by my coach to change my training base so that he could also monitor my progress as the season starts, because he stays in Iten, and I saw it was a wise thing,” said Koech.
But it hasn’t been easy for the athlete since losing his twin brother and training partner whom he says left a big gap in his career.
He now wants to honour his brother by reclaiming the world title.
“I’m taking my training seriously and my main aim is to win back the title my brother won in 2015 during the World Championships which will be held in Doha as one way of honouring him,” said Koech.
But before the Doha championships, he hopes to impress at the IAAF World Relays Championships which will be held in Yokohama, Japan, on May 11 and 12.
The first three editions of the IAAF World Relays Championships - in 2014, 2015 and 2017 - were held in Nassau, the Bahamas which proved to be an exceptional host of the new event.
“I will be participating in club competitions in Turkey next month with my training partner Kiprono Kosgei and this will help me in terms of preparations for the World Relays. We already qualified for the event and I will be looking forward to be in the team that will represent the country,” added Koech.
Koech said that after the relay assignment, he will focus on the IAAF Diamond League races, then the IAAF World Championships before closing the season with African Games in Casablanca, Morocco.
“I will be competing in various Diamond League races as part of my preparations for the World Championships and the African Games. I know competition is stiff and it takes my hard work and determination to deliver,” he said.
At the 2015 global championships in Beijing, Koech reached the semi-finals with his brother going all the way to the gold.
Koech also finished seventh at the Rio Olympics Games the following year.
At the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London. Koech also went as far as the semi-finals. Norway’s Karsten Warholm (48.35) won the world title with Turkey’s Yasmani Copello (48.49) taking silver and American Kerron Clement (48.52) taking bronze at the Olympic Stadium.
Last year, Koech placed sixth at the Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium in Gold Coast, Australia.