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Rudisha eyes Shanghai record as Olympic bid gathers pace

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Kenya's gold medallist David Rudisha, at the victory ceremony for the men's 800 metres at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing (AFP Photo/Greg Baker)
Kenya’s gold medallist David Rudisha, at the victory ceremony for the men’s 800 metres at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing (AFP Photo/Greg Baker)

SHANGHAI, China, May 12 – David Rudisha has set his sights on breaking the Shanghai Diamond League record as he steps up his campaign for the first back-to-back Olympic 800 metres titles in 52 years.

The world record-holder from Kenya said he was hoping for improvement in his second outing of the season, after clocking one minute 44.78 seconds in Melbourne in March.

“I want to keep on improving every time. Of course, my ultimate aim is to be at the top form in August for Rio Olympics,” he told a news conference in Shanghai.

“I’m also looking forward to improve from my last time in Australia,” he said. “I’m looking forward for something like 1:43-and-a-half.”

The Shanghai meet record is 1:44.63, set by now-retired Kenyan Wilfred Bungei in 2008.

Rudisha, now 27, set an amazing world record of 1:40.91 to win gold in the London Games in 2012.

No man has won consecutive Olympic 800m titles since New Zealand’s Peter Snell in 1960 and 1964, while only two others; Douglas Lowe (1924 and 1928) and Mal Whitfield (1948 and 1952)  have ever done it.

On Saturday, Rudisha will face four other Kenyan runners in the 800m race, including world finalists Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich and Alfred Kipketer. The field also includes Erik Sowinski and Nick Symmonds, both of the United States.

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