‘King David’ seeks to ascend to Olympics throne

August 9, 2012 10:05 am

, LONDON, England, August 9- World record-holder and World champion – the one thing missing from David Rudisha’s collection is the Olympic title.

In Thursday night’s 800m final he will look to fulfil his destiny, but it will not be easy.

He is up against Mohamed Aman – the young Ethiopian who ended Rudisha’s winning streak last year – as well as long-time rival Abubaker Kaki and new teenage talent Nijel Amos, the World Junior champion from Botswana.

As one of the most dominant athletes in the world at present, anything other than gold for Rudisha would be a huge surprise.

The two-time African and Continental Cup titleholder underlined his intent by winning his heat (1:45.90) and semi final (1:44.35) without engaging second gear and Kenyans as well as a packed London Olympics Stadium expect the Masai High Moran to apply the icing on the cake at 10:00pm local time.

“The semi was just cruising and the important thing was to qualify for the final. I’m happy I’m in the final because there is a lot of pressure. But when you come to the last race, you give it everything.

“The important thing is to control the pressure, run your race and do your best,” the Team Kenya captain said after making the medal race.

Besides winning gold for his nation, the 23-year-old two-lap phenomenon who is Kenya’s biggest draw at London 2012 is being prodded to give the watching billions the added pleasure of witnessing a landmark 800m race.

Already, pundits far and wide are predicting the end of Norwegian Vebjorn Rodal’s Olympics record of 1:42.58 set at the Atlanta Olympics that stood as the American soil record until Rudisha turned up at the Adidas Diamond League meeting in New York in June and smashed it with a rampant 1:41.74 victory.

There was also talk that Rudisha would do the unthinkable and attack his own 1:41.01 world record at the eagerly awaited Olympics 800m final that would go further in cementing his legacy as one of the greatest two-lap athletes in history.

Besides that, he is featuring at an event organised largely by his friend and former world record holder, Lord Sebastian Coe who like the Kenyan, broke the benchmark twice in his career besides being in the select group of sub-1:42 runners.

Already, Rudisha has broken 1:42 twice this season, making him the first man to achieve six races under the barrier with his astonishing 1:41.54 season’s best ran in Paris on July 6 coming hot on the heels of the New York blast and a new altitude record of 1:42.12 raced during the Olympics Trials in Nairobi on June 23.

“I’m in a very good shape and the other day I dropped the altitude record here in Nairobi that was almost 1:41. The Olympics record is 1:41 and half and I expect to dip that,” the two-time African and Continental gold medallist emphasised before he left for London.

“We have been friends since and I’m happy to go to London where he has organised the Olympics. It is morale for me to go there,” the world champion said of London 2012 Organising Committee chair, Lord Coe.

“David is a fantastic athlete; he is a great ambassador for African athletics but he is also a great ambassador for world athletics.

“For somebody putting together an Olympics Games it is great for track and field to have David Rudisha coming to London as a world champion,” the two-time Olympics champion Lord Coe said a day after Rudisha won the world title in Daegu last summer.

World Junior silver medallist and Commonwealth Youth champion, Timothy Kitum, will line-up against Rudisha in the Team Kenyan corner hoping to follow the favourite through to the podium just as he did at the Trials in June.

Kitum who was edged out of the gold medal in Barcelona by Amos promised to fire on all cylinders and imperious performances at the heats and semis where he has finished second to Kaki and Aman are testament he can mix it with the best.

“I’m happy we will be together in the final. We are going to work well and ensure we get to the podium,” Rudisha said of his teammate whose reputation has been bludgeoning since he won bronze at last year’s World Youth Championships.

With the London weather fluctuating like a broken thermometer with alternating hot and rainy spells, one of the chinks in Rudisha’s armour has been competing in wet conditions.

He failed to crack the finals of the Berlin Worlds when it poured during his warm-up and last year in Rome, Aman ended his 26-race unbeaten streak when he clipped him to the line again under a downpour.

“This time, I do not want to talk about the weather. Whatever will come, I will be ready,” the athlete who made his name by winning the junior world title in 2006 whilst still a student at St. Francis, Kamuron charged.

– Additional reporting by IAAF






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