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January 19, 2019

Nicholas Bett becomes first Kenyan to win gold in 400m hurdles

Nicholas Bett of Kenya celebrates with his national flag after winning the men's 400 metres hurdles final during the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China August 25, 2015.  Photo/REUTERS
Nicholas Bett of Kenya celebrates with his national flag after winning the men's 400 metres hurdles final during the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China August 25, 2015. Photo/REUTERS

Nicholas Bett made history in China on Tuesday, becoming the first Kenyan to win a gold medal in a short distance race at world stage.

Bett won the 400m hurdles finals at the 15th IAAF World Championships in Beijing in 47.79 world leading time, beating Russia’s Dennis Kudryavsten.

Kudryavsten finished in 48.05, while Geffrey Gibson of Bahamas won the bronze medal in 48.17.

Kenya’s other representative in the race, Boniface Mucheru, was beaten to fifth position, finishing at 48.33.

Bett, a former volleyballer, said; "I decided to run very fast because when I slowed down in the semis, it was hard for me to jump some hurdles."

"You know hurdles is not an easy event. I gave it my best and I’m happy and proud to be the first Kenyan to win this event at world championships," he added.

Dedicating his medal to his twins, a boy and a girl, Bett said his victory will spur other athletes and Athletics Kenya to take hurdles seriously.

Kenya’s hopes of getting more medals in the sprints had earlier been shattered after representatives in the 200m and 400m races failed to qualify for finals.

Joyce Zakary, who set a new national record, did not start in unclear circumstances, while Maureen Jelagat finished seventh in her heat in 51.92.

Defending champion Allyson Felix of the US won the heat in a season best of 49.89.

"I started the race so fast and ran out of steam on the home stretch. As we go to the All Africa Games, I’m hoping for a medal," Jelagat said.

Kenya’s head coach Julius Kirwa promised to brief journalists on why Zakary, who set the national record, did not participate.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that Zakary, who was not at the Beijing National Stadium, was unwell.

In 200m, Carvin Nkanata and Mike Mokamba failed to sail to the semis in their respective heats.

Nkanata said the race was good despite narrowly missing a place after finishing 4th in 20.43.

"I had expectations of reaching the finals but this clearly shows there is hope in sprints," added the US-based athlete.

Mokamba said he gained invaluable experience ahead of the All Africa Games.

"This is my first time to represent the country and I have learnt a lot," he said.

 

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