Bett laid to rest as leaders, athletes mourn promising career cut short


Pall bearers carry the remains of fallen athletics great Nicholas Bett at the Eldoret Hospital....
Pall bearers carry the remains of fallen athletics great Nicholas Bett at the Eldoret Hospital.PHOTO/Cyrus Sholim/CITIZEN

In Summary

  • Leaders, sports fraternity and hundreds of mourners thronged the home of former 400 metres champion Nicholas Bett in Lemook village, Simat in Uasin Gishu county to witness his final journey
  • Bett died last week after he was involved in a tragic road accident along Lessos Kapsabet road

Political leaders, sports fraternity and hundreds of mourners thronged the home of former 400 metres champion Nicholas Bett in Lemook village, Simat in Uasin Gishu county to witness his final journey.

Bett died last week after he was involved in a tragic road accident along Lessos Kapsabet road.

Led by Deputy President William Ruto and other government officials, speakers at the funeral eulogized Bett as a great inspiration to young people in the country.

“Bett will be remembered for hard work and dedication which played a crucial role in athletics,” said Ruto.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa said Bett will forever be remembered for carrying the name of the nation high.

“I’m here on behalf of my family to say pole to the bereaved family. I met Bett in Gold Coast, Australia during the Commonwealth Games where we interacted and became good friends. It is unfortunate that he’s no longer with us. I want to announce here that Bett died a hero. We shall celebrate him even in his death.

He went on: “To the athletes I want to say that I have been a sports person and the shoes that you wear today I have worn before and I know where it pinches.

Deputy President consoles the family of the late Nicholas Bett at the burial ceremony.Image/Caro Kones/Citizen

“I understand the challenges and troubles that you people go through to fly our national flag. Therefore, under my leadership, I want to assure you that we don’t take your effort for granted; we are going to make sure all of you are celebrated in this country. ”

Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney said: “I want to convey my condolences to the family of Nicholas Bett. He was a young promising athlete. It is God’s will that he left us,”She said, urging Bett’s widow Gladys to seek solace and guidance from God.

Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei eulogized the late as a highly disciplined and dedicated sportsman.

“Bett was a very disciplined athlete who never indulged in doping. We have lost a hero. On that note, we shall honour Nicholas Bett upon the completion of the Kipchoge Stadium in Eldoret ,”Tuwei said.

Steeplechase legend Ezekiel Kemboi was overcome with emotion as he made a moving eulogy of his deceased friend.

Ezekiel Kemboi after winning gold at the Beijing World Championships
Ezekiel Kemboi after winning gold at the Beijing World Championships

“I have been with Nicholas since the time he started his career. I have in been in Team Kenya for more than 20 years and I have been giving him and otherS advice on how to maintain speed in order to win. I have lost a close friend; it is so hard to imagine that Nick is no more,”Kemboi said breaking into tears.

All Athletes at the burial sang a song in honour of Bett before casting flowers in the air and saying uniformly: “It is well with our soul, rest in peace Nicholas Bett.”

Police officers also gave their departed colleague a befitting send-off through a slow match with their firearms reversed towards the grave side where they gave a 21 gun salute.

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Story By Carol Kones
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