Youngster Bett holding on to Olympic dream


Youngster Bett holding on to Olympic dream
Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Doha 2019 - Men's 3000 Metres Steeplechase Heats - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - October 1, 2019 Kenya's Leonard Kipkemoi Bett in action REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

In Summary

  • The World Under 20 3000m steeplechase silver medalist Leonard Bett is not letting go of his dream after the coronavirus pandemic moved his chance for a debut at the Olympic Games by at least one year
  • Bett had set out to compete at the Diamond League in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Games that have since been pushed to 2021 as precaution against the pandemic

The World Under 20 3000m steeplechase silver medalist Leonard Bett is not letting go of his dream after the coronavirus pandemic moved his chance for a debut at the Olympic Games by at least one year.

Bett had set out to compete at the Diamond League in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Games that have since been pushed to 2021 as precaution against the pandemic.

Bett is one of the brightest youngsters currently transiting to the senior ranks and recounts how disruptions to sport has affected him.

“For me I would have loved to continue making appearance in the senior category especially at the Diamond League which I have been competing since 2018. I know most of athletes whom we competed together at the junior level are also transiting to the senior category whose progress may be hampered by the current situation,” Bett told Citizen Digital.

With the detrimental effects of the virus trickling down to the daily routine of sportsmen, Bett says he remains strong despite the change in the status quo.

“It has actually been very difficult for us athletes since the outbreak of the virus. Right now, I cannot train with my coach we only communicate on phone. But since there is hope at the end of this challenge I am still trying to train and keep fit as I wait for the championships to return.

Together with my coach we had many plans with the Olympic Games being our major focus. I also wanted to lower my personal best,” he said.

After making his debut at the World Championship in Doha, Qatar last year where he placed 9th, the athlete said the lessons he learnt from the global event will strengthen him even more in his career.

“It was my first Worlds at the senior level and I am proud of my performance. For me I actually learned that to grow you have to be consistent and that is what we are trying to achieve with my coach,” he said.

Regarded as future of Kenya in the water and barrier race, Bett is equally wary of the pressure that comes with the race which has long been regarded as a preserve for Kenyans.

“Yes, I know it is very normal for that to happen because we have dominated the race for a very long time. However, we should not become complacent because as we saw in Doha other countries are also coming up,” he said.

The athlete who trains in Silibwet Athletics Camp in Bomet County under the tutelage of coach John Kimetto further revealed that he is now spending most of his time at the farms when he is done with his daily routine training.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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