Nicholas Bett
Personal information
Born(1990-01-27)27 January 1990
Uasin Gishu County, Kenya[1]
Died8 August 2018(2018-08-08) (aged 28)
Nandi County, Kenya
Height1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)[2]
Weight75 kg (165 lb)
Event(s)400 metres hurdles
ClubTeam Kenya
Coached byVincent Mumo Kiilu

Nicholas Kiplagat Bett (27 January 1990 – 8 August 2018) was a Kenyan track and field athlete who competed in the 400 metres hurdles. His personal best for the event is 47.79 seconds. He was a world champion in the event, having won in 2015, and a two-time bronze medallist at the African Championships in Athletics. He died in a road accident in Kenya at the age of 28.


His first outing at national level was in 2010, when he was a Kenyan junior finalist.[3] He made his breakthrough nationally at senior level with a run of 50.39 seconds to place third at the Kenyan Athletics Championships in 2011. He missed most of the 2012 season but returned in 2013 with runner-up finishes at both the national championships and world trials.[4] A new personal best of 49.70 seconds at the latter meet placed him 53rd globally for the season.[5]

Another runner-up finish at the national level earned him selection for both the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2014 African Championships in Athletics. At the Commonwealth Games he failed to make the 400 m hurdles final and was also eliminated in the heats of the 4 × 400 m relay after Kenya were disqualified.[6] At the African Championships in Athletics, he won a bronze medal in the 400 m hurdles, achieving a new personal best of 49.03 seconds, and a bronze medal in the 4 × 400 m relay with teammates Mark Mutai, Solomon Buoga and Boniface Mucheru.[7]

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.[4] A personal best of 48.29 seconds at the 2015 Athletics Kenya World Championship Trials brought him selection for the national team and raised him to third on the global rankings.[8][9] At the 2015 World Athletics Championship in Beijing, Bett achieved his biggest result, winning the 400 metres hurdles event with a time of 47.79 seconds.[10] Bett's win was Kenya's first in the history of the World Championships, for an event shorter than 800 metres.[11] Bett's Beijing run was the fastest time for the distance in the whole of the 2015 season.[12]

Bett had a poor start to the 2016 season, with a season's best time of 49.31 going into the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.[13] However, Bett was still considered one of the favourites for the 400 metres hurdles event, following his 2015 World Championships win.[14] However, he made a mistake in the preliminary round when he tripped over the 10th and final hurdle whilst in second place. He eventually finished last in the heat, but was disqualified anyway, and failed to reach the semifinal.[14]

Personal life

Bett's twin brother, Aron Koech, is also a 400 metres hurdler.[15]


Bett died in a road accident near the town of Lessos, in Nandi County, Kenya, in the early morning of 8 August 2018.[16][17] He had arrived back from the 2018 African Championships in Athletics in Nigeria two days earlier, and was driving along the Kapsabet to Eldoret road on his way back to Nairobi.[18] According to the local police commander, Bett lost control of his car, a Toyota Prado SUV, which then hit a bump in the road and landed in a ditch, killing the athlete instantly.[17][18]

International competitions

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
2014 Commonwealth Games Glasgow, United Kingdom 14th (h) 400 m hurdles 51.21
4 × 400 m relay DQ
African Championships Marrakesh, Morocco 3rd 400 m hurdles 49.03
3rd 4 × 400 m relay 3:07.35
2015 World Championships Beijing, China 1st 400 m hurdles 47.79
2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 400 m hurdles DQ
2018 Commonwealth Games Gold Coast, Australia 8th 400 m hurdles 51.00
- 4 × 400 m relay DQ
African Championships Asaba, Nigeria 3rd (h) 400 m hurdles 49.881

1Did not finish in the final


  1. ^ "2018 CWG bio". Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  2. ^ Rio 2016 bio
  3. ^ "IAAF: Nicholas BETT | Profile". Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Nicholas Bett". Tilastopaja. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Senior Outdoor 2013 400 Metres Hurdles Men". International Association of Athletics Federations. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Games Results for Nicholas Bett". Commonwealth Games Federation. Archived from the original on 14 September 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  7. ^ CAA /Maroc Telecom 19èmes Championnats d'Afrique d'Atléthisme Seniors. Marrakech2014. Retrieved on 2 August 2015.
  8. ^ Mutuota, Mutwiri (1 August 2015). ‘Fergie’ topples ‘King David’, Kiprop, Sum soar. Capital FM. Retrieved on 2015-08-02.
  9. ^ 400 Metres Hurdles - men - senior - outdoor - 2015. IAAF. Retrieved on 2 August 2015.
  10. ^ Ayodi, Ayumba (25 August 2015). "Nicholas Bett wins Kenya first ever 400m hurdles gold at Worlds". Daily Nation. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Report: Men'S 400m Hurdles Final – IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015". IAAF. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Senior Outdoor 2015 400 Metres Hurdles Men". International Association of Athletics Federations. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  13. ^ "PREVIEW: MEN'S 400M HURDLES – RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES". IAAF. 10 August 2016.
  14. ^ a b Stubbs, Roman (15 August 2016). "Kenya's world champion Nicholas Bett stumbles on final hurdle, fails to qualify for 400 meter". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  15. ^ Champion Bett out as twin brother Koech, Mucheru sail through
  16. ^ Matoke, Tom (8 August 2018). "Shock, grief as ex-World champ Nicholas Bett dies in tragic accident". Daily Nation.
  17. ^ a b "Former world 400m hurdles champion Nicholas Bett dies in car crash aged 28". The Guardian. Associated Press. 8 August 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  18. ^ a b Gilpin, Andrew (8 August 2018). "Nicholas Bett dead: World Champion 400m hurdler dies after car crashes into a ditch". MSN.
  19. ^ "Nicholas Bett". IAAF.