HUESDEN, July 11 – Kenya’s David Rudisha became the second fastest man ever over 800m when he set an African record of 1 min 41.51 seconds here on Saturday.Rudisha, who is still only 21, now lies only behind Denmark’s Kenyan-born world record holder Wilson Kipketer, who ran 1:41.11 in 1997.
He is only the fourth man to go under the barrier of 1 min 42sec over two laps of the track, leaping in front of Great Britain’s Sebastian Coe and Brazil’s Joaquim Cruz, who were both former Olympic 800m champions.
"The world record is now my next target, but I have to work harder over the final 100 metres of my race," said Rudisha.
"It was really tough over the final 150 metres once I was on my own, but I feel proud to now be faster than great champions like Coe and Cruz," he added.
Rudisha was towed through the first lap in 49.14 by his training partner and pace maker, Kenya’s Sammy Tangui and had some help from the bell by another Kenyan Boaz Lalang, before hitting the front with 250 metres to go.
Rudisha was the 2006 world junior champion and won the African title two years ago, which he will defend on home soil in Nairobi at the end of the month, but had a disaster at the World Championships last year when he went to Berlin as one of the favourites for a gold medal but misjudged his semi-final race and was eliminated.