BEIJING, August 25 – Nicholas Bett wrote his name into history books as the first Kenyan to win a world championships title in the men’s 400m Hurdles after running a stunning world-leading time of 47.79 to give his country the first gold of the afternoon in Beijing on Tuesday.
Running in the unfavoured lane nine and not seeing anybody until about the last 100 metres, the African bronze medallist took 0.44 off Erick Keter’s Kenyan record which had stood for 22 years since the 1993 IAAF World Championships with the fastest time in the world since the last world championship final in Moscow two years ago.
It was USA’s 2013 world championships silver medallist Michael Tinsley, running in lane five, who was the first to rise over the first six hurdles but the rest of the field were still firmly in the race as the field started around the second bend.
Porto Novo 2012 Africa bronze medallist, Boniface Mucheru faded to fifth in 48.33 despite starting off the blocks well.
However, Tinsley, perhaps feeling the pressure having Kenya’s Boniface Mucheru on his inside and Russia’s Denis Kudryavtsev on his outside and drawing up to his shoulder, crashed through the eighth hurdle.
The Russian edged in front and had the slight lead coming into the ninth hurdle, which Tinsley also clipped to take him right out of medal contention, while on the outside Bett was start to motor and edge closer to the 2014 European bronze medallist.
Kudrayavtsev still had a slight lead coming into the last barrier but Bett cleared it much more cleanly and then sped away as the Russian started to tire.
Bett was later to claim that the being out in lane nine was actually a help rather than a hinderance as he was able to focus on getting his stride pattern right, which had been rather ragged in his semi-final.
Kudrayavtsev crossed the line in a national record of 48.05, taking 0.01 off a Russian record which had stood for 17 years, and was visibly delighted with his silver medal.
Behind them, The Bahamas’ Jeffrey Gibson completed a podium that would have been barely thinkable before the championships and took third place in a national record of 48.17, heis secodn successive national record after running 48.37 in the sem-finals.
Gibson just held off USA’s 2007 and 2009 world champion Kerron Clement, the least favoured of the quartet of American hurdlers ahead of the championships following his injuries in 2014, in a frantic battle for the bronze off the last hurdle.
The latter finished 0.01 back in fourth place in 48.18 while Clement’s compatriot, the luckless Tinsley, trailed home eighth and last in 50.02
1 679 Nicholas Bett KEN 47.79 WL
2 870 Denis Kudryavtsev RUS 48.05 NR
3 202 Jeffery Gibson BAH 48.17 NR
4 1005 Kerron Clement USA 48.18 SB
5 705 Boniface Mucheru Tumuti KEN 48.33
6 956 Yasmani Copello TUR 48.96
7 794 Patryk Dobek POL 49.14
8 1063 Michael Tinsley USA 50.02