Winstone Chiseremi and Emmanuel Masinde @PeopleSport11
Deputy President William Ruto yesterday led hundreds of mourners, local leaders and the athletics fraternity in paying their last respects to former 400 metres hurdles world champion Nicholas Bett in Uasin Gishu County.
Bett who died in a road accident last week on the Cengalo-Lessos- Kapsabet road in Nandi County, was laid to rest at his home at Simat village in Kesses constituency.
The deceased who was a father of two children was travelling home on the fateful day after arriving from Nigeria where he had represented the country at the 21st Africa Athletics Championships.
Ruto described Bett, 28 as a disciplined, interactive and inspiring young police officer who raised Kenya’s flag globally through his athletic prowess and asked upcoming runners to emulate him.
The DP said the country had lost a promising and hardworking police officer whose services will be greatly missed by those he worked and related with while in service.
“We are gratefull to our sportsmen and women and the police force fraternity for bringing bright to our country through athletics in several international races,” said Ruto while eulogising the deceased.
Those who attended the burial ceremony included Cabinet Secretary for Sports Rashid Echesa, his Lands counterpart Faridah Karoney, area Governor Jackson Mandago, Senator Margaret Kamar and his Nandi counterpart, Stephen Sang.
Other MPs present were Oscah Sudi (Kapseret ), his Kato Ole Metito (Kajiado South ), Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett, Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei and a host of local and international runners and coaches.
Ruto donated Sh 2 million towards the bursary of the deceased’s children and said another Sh 2 million would be paid from the police medical insurance cover since he died while still in police service.
The Deputy President said the government will reserve 100 slots during the recruitment exercise of disciplined forces for runners across the country.
“The government is committed in nurturing talents in our young men and women by ensuring that in every recruitment in the police force, at least 100 slots will be reserved for the youths who have passion in running so that they can nurture their talents in the force,” assured Ruto.
He also said the Government was in the process of enacting a policy that is aimed at strengthening management of athletics.
He said some managers were still exploiting athletes, noting that it was only through the enactment of a tough policy that such matters would be put to rest.