Speaking in Monaco ahead of the IAAF World Athletics Gala on Saturday where he is in the final shortlist to retain the Male Athlete of the Year accolade, Rudisha owned up he was still smarting from missing the 2008 edition in Beijing.
“I was ready in 2008 for the Olympic Games but unfortunately I missed the Kenyan trials with a thigh injury. I watched those Olympics but it was tough to watch. But it was good in the end because a Kenyan, Wilfred Bungei, was the champion.”
“This year I want to my best to make the team and then to win the gold medal,” the World, Continental Cup and twice African titleholder told international media.
On his training schedule ahead of the Olympics, Rudisha disclosed he would combine the programmes that served him so well in the 2010 and just ended seasons.
“I’d like to begin again in Australia with perhaps another fast 400 metres. It’s always tough for a champion to maintain your position when you’re on top. But the most important thing is to be disciplined. It’s important to keep in mind that what I have done has already passed. What is important is what will come tomorrow.”
Rudisha declined to single out any particular rival for the Olympics top medal asserting, “I don’t want to say any one person will be my main opponent. Anyone can come up and surprise, especially at the Olympics. The important thing is to train and be prepared for anything.”
He reflected on a campaign where he finally bagged the top medal at an international competition after failing to come through during the 2009 Worlds in Berlin following his Beijing heartache.
“This year really changed a lot of things for me. In 2008 I missed the Olympics; in 2009 I didn’t get to the final in Berlin. Some were saying that I wasn’t a championships runner. This year I wanted to prove that I was, that I could win and I could control the pace from the front.”
Rudisha blasted to two world records in 2010, first breaking the 1:43.11 previous record ran by Kenyan born Dane, Wilson Kipketer with his 1:43.09 explosion in Berlin before he smashed his own benchmark in Rieti a week later with 1:41.01.
His compatriot and world marathon record holder, Patrick Makau Musyoki who completed the Berlin Marathon course in 2:03:38 in September to topple Haile Gebrselassie’s 2:03:59 confessed his top mark was under threat from a slew of his talented countrymen.
Asked how a race pitting him against Boston and New York winner, Geoffrey Mutai, London champion and World Marathon Majors champion, Emmanuel Mutai as well as Wilson Kipsang, the victor in Frankfurt in 2:03:42, four seconds shy of his new record, Makau averred;
“We would do something really good. But we would be focusing only on winning.”
Makau who was brought up in a very poor family with five brothers and one sister recalled the hardships he went through while growing up.
“The hardest part was going to sleep when I was hungry. Then to wake up and go to school when I had an empty stomach.”
“Sometimes I had only one meal a day, but sometimes none.”
Makau was among the initial shortlist for the Male Athlete of the Year but did not make the final shortlist.
Double women’s world champion, Vivian Cheruiyot who is in the final three for the Female Athlete of the Year is the other Kenyan who earned the nod in the annual gathering that rewards the cream of athletics every season in the French principality of Monaco.