Rudisha eyes sweet return to London for Worlds

Kenya's David Lekuta Rudisha (C) leads the field in the Men's 800m Round 1 heat during ...
Kenya's David Lekuta Rudisha (C) leads the field in the Men's 800m Round 1 heat during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 12, 2016. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

After breaking the World record five years ago in London, David ‘King’ Rudisha heads back to the English capital seeking to conquer the turf on which he won his first Olympic gold medal.

The two-time Olympic and two-time World 800m champion will be aiming to retain his title at the IAAF World Athletics championships slated for August 4-13 and is confident of a strong showing.

Rudisha is not plotting an attack on his own World record (WR) of 1:40.91 that he set during the 2012 London Olympics but is certain he will clinch a top podium finish.

“The preparations have been going on well since we reported in camp. I’m happy with the training since this is a very crucial time for us as we make the final preparations.

I have been working on endurance, speed and some good track sessions just to make sure that we have everything balanced. The preparations have been good and we’re all up for this,” the Beijing World champion asserted.

This season, the two-lap specialist has only competed thrice and has had on one victory at the Gyulai Istvan Memorial in Hungary (July 3-4) where he set a season best (SB) of 1:44.90.

In his season opener, 19-year-old Kipyegon Bett (1:44.70) stunned the track King during Shangai Diamond League while he finished fourth in 1:45.17.

In June 10 during the Kingston Racers Grand Prix in Jamaica, another teenager Willy Tarbei (19yrs) upstaged Rudisha to cross the finish line in 1:44.86. The Rio Olympic Champion settled for second place after stopping the timer at 1:44.90.

Later in that month, Rudisha made his 1000m debut at the 56TH Ostrava Golden Spike where he finished fourth after clocking 2:19.43.

“In sports there will always be new crop of young and talented athletes coming up we love them all. They come and find us as senior experienced athletes we work together and do our best.

“I also know that time is not on our side as senior athletes and when the time comes, we shall have had mentored them and they will be ready to continue where we left off.

“For now we are still active and focused in our competitions, so we ask them to be on the lookout since we are going to sweat it out and not give up our titles easily,” the 800m World Record holder said.

Rudisha missed out on last month’s World Championships trials held at the Nyayo National Stadium, after being granted permission by Athletics Kenya (AK) to focus on his title defence.

During Team Kenya naming after the trials, the selectors ‘forgot’ to name Rudisha who had a wild card on the virtue of being the defending champion but instead called out World Relay Champion Ferguson Rotich who also had a wild card after winning 2016 Diamond League, Emmanuel Korir, Kipyegon Bett and Michael Saruni.

Eyebrows were raised and Rudisha was called in the team, the selectors had a tough decision to make on whom to drop in the five-member team. Saruni who is reported to have gone AWOL from camp was axed by the Team Kenya technical department for ‘indiscipline’.

Rudisha will now team up with Korir, Bett and Rotich in the hunt of the coveted medal next month.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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