Africa bronze medallist Nicholas Bett became the first Kenyan to win a World title in sprints when he stunned a rich field to win the men's 400m hurdles at Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing, China, on Tuesday.
Bett scaled the hurdles from the outer lane in 47.79 seconds to not only bag the historic gold but also break the national record that stood at 48.24, set by Eric Keter. Another Kenyan, Boniface Mucheru, finished fifth in 48.33.
Bett ran the sixth fastest time in the world when he won the World Championships trials in 48.29 on August 1 in Nairobi. After missing part of the 2012 season, Bett came back to finish second during the trials for the Moscow Worlds in 49.70 that placed him in the top 50 vanguard that year even though he didn’t make it to Moscow.
He was selected for the Commonwealth Games and the Africa Championships in 2014 but managed bronze at the continental event in 49.03 in 400m hurdles and 4x400m relays, where he teamed up with Mark Mutai, Solomon Buoga and Mucheru.
Bett began to compete on the international track and field circuit in 2015 and had wins at the Savo Games and Lappeenranta Games in Finland.
Kenya’s hopes for a medal in the women’s 400m and the men’s 200m went up in smoke on Tuesday when its athletes failed to qualify to the next stage.
National champion Joyce Sakari missed at the starts of her heat one semi-final after she fell sick as Maureen Jelagat finished seventh in the third heat.