Nicholas Bett, 400 meter hurdle gold, a first for Kenya, August 25, 2015, photo by PhotoRun.net
Nicholas Bett surprised more than a few of his countrymen. Now, as Justin Lagat so ably puts it, many Kenyans will be looking for more next year! Bett kept his cool, and charged from third to first in the last hurdle and final sprint!
Kenya’s Nicholas Bett Surprises the world with a gold medal in the men’s 400m hurdles, by Justin Lagat
Not only is a Kenyan now a world champion in the men’s 400m hurdles, but also the world leader this year for the one lap sprinting event.
Coming on to the home stretch, Nicholas Bett of Kenya, running on the outside lane appeared to be in third position, but then dug deeper into his energy reserves and managed to edge the other competitors to get into the lead and win a gold medal for Kenya. His winning time was amazing for a Kenyan; 47.79! This is the first ever win for a Kenyan in this event at the world championships. It will take some time before the magnitude of what he just achieved here is registered by athletic fans.
From the first heats, it had been a great surprise to many as the Kenyans kept advancing through to the finals. Two of the Kenyans went through to the finals and the other Kenyan, Boniface Mucheru was able to finish 5th slightly behind Kerron Clement of the US. The silver and bronze medals went to Denis Kudrayavtsev of Russia in 48.05 and Jeffrey Gibson of Bahamas in 48.17.
Bett will continue to make headlines in the coming days. Just like Julius Yego, he has just opened up more options for Kenyan athletes to shine on the global scene. Except for the 110m hurdles, Kenyans runners now know that they have the potential to dominate any track event that has either hurdles, or barriers. Who knows what other surprise another Kenyan will pull at the next world championships!
As Kenyans were still high with Bett’s historic win, Faith Chepng’etich also delivered another silver medal in the women 1500m. It was a race that looked so competitive and the chances for Chengetich medaling were slim, but she all the same managed to add a silver medal to Kenya’s basket of medals in Beijing and ensured that the country remained on top of the rest at the medal table.
Genzebe Dibaba had tried to shake off the rest of the field quite early in the race, but Chepngetich had stuck just behind her as they came to the last lap. With about 150 meters to go a gap started to open between Dibaba and Chepng’etich as Sifan Hassan came strongly from behind to overtake Chepngetich. But, Hassan may have misjudged the distance that was remaining to the finish line because she began to falter as Chepngetich closed the gap and overtook her again. Dibaba was meanwhile celebrating at the finish line having crossed it in 4:08.08. Chepngetich’s time was 4:08.96 while Hassan’s was 4:09.34.
These two medals from Nicholas Bett and Faith Chepng’etich were not part of the medals that the Kenyans had as much hope of winning as they had in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, men’s 800m, women 800m and men’s 1500m races. It promises to be a great outing for the Kenyan team in China so far.