As the world continues to mourn former world hurdles champion Nicholas Bett, preparations for his burial are in top gear in Uasin Gishu County with athletics stakeholders, family and friends initiating the inaugural funeral planning meeting in Eldoret on Friday.
Uasin Gishu County Governor Jackson Mandago passed his condolences to the family and the athletics family saying that Bett was one of the best athletes in the world.
"I want to send my condolences to the family after learning about the death of their son Bett. The sudden death of the athlete is a big shock to the entire athletics family and I know he has left a big gap," said Mandago. He added that Kenya lost a young athlete whose star had started shining.
"Bett opened the way for Kenyan athletes to do well in the sprints when he won a surprise gold medal in 2015 during the World Championships and they have been doing well since then. It’s so unfortunate and we are praying for the family for strength at this hard time," said the governor who is also mourning the death of his mother Salina Jematia Lelei who was buried on Monday.
He further said that they will be collaborating with Athletics Kenya and the National Police Service to see where they can chip in during the preparations for the funeral.
"The county government will chip in during the preparations so that the athlete may be given the best send-off since he was a star in the athletics fraternity," said Mandago. He also warned those vandalizing road signs to stop that since they were causing accidents along the major highways.
Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei, accompanied by Central Rift AK chairman Abraham Mutai and Nairobi branch chairman Barnabas Korir, visited Bett’s family at their Simat home.
Tuwei said that he was saddened by the tragic events and noted that they will support the family during this hard time. "I have received condolences from all over the world from people who knew the late Bett. It’s really hard to believe we have lost one of the best athletes in the world but we have to accept," said Tuwei.
The first main funeral meeting was held at the Eldoret Sports Club on Friday. In attendance was a legion of athletes including two-time Boston Marathon champion Moses Tanui, former world track champions Eunice Sum, Alfred Kirwa Yego, Milcah Chemos and Asbel Kiprop, among others.
Bett was involved in an accident along the Cengalo-Lessos-Kapsabet road when his vehicle rolled after hitting a speed bump when the left side front wheel came off, killing the athlete on the spot.