DAEGU, South Korea, August 30- Record holder, David Rudisha now officially sits on top of the men 800m running after a seemingly effortless 1:43.91 triumph at the Daegu Sports Stadium on Tuesday to ascend to world title.
Rudisha, survived being spiked on his left heel as the competitors scrambled to get their positions at the first curve to assume the lead before unleashing a flawless display of front running, going through the opening lap in 51.33 before closing in on the title.
“I do not know whether I will sleep tonight! I’m so happy for the victory since I was under a lot of pressure, I have never run a race under the kind of pressure I was in today but in the end, I finally made it,” Rudisha, one of the biggest attractions here in Daegu said after enjoying a rousing reception during his lap of honour.
In front of a packed stadium with 40,000 screaming supporters, the arena erupted when Rudisha, in Lane 6 was introduced and his powerful dark figure illuminated the hundreds of screens inside the stadium.
The ‘silence for the start’ sign went up and in pin drop silence, Rudisha’s date with destiny arrived.
“Being the world recorder, everybody was expecting me to win. I was very tense at the start,” he explained.
And they were off, and just after the first curve, an almighty scramble for vantage positions saw Rudisha almost become another high profile casualty of these championships that have claimed more than their fair share of big victims- women Pole vault record holder, Russian Yelena Isinbayeva and American men 400m champion, LeShawn Merritt joining the list on Tuesday.
“It was tough, my shoe almost came off and I believe that would have been the end of my chances but thanks to God, it held,” the new king of the men 800m running described.
After steadying himself, Rudisha completed the gun-to-tape victory as Sudan’s archrival and twice World Indoor champion, Abubaker Kaki (1:44.41) and Russian grand warrior of men 800m running Yuriy Borzakovskiy (1:44.49) joined him in the podium as silver and bronze winners.
“I’m so happy for my friend Rudisha and congratulations go out to him but I feel very happy too for myself for silver since I missed out on the final in Berlin and Beijing,” Kaki graciously offered.
Berlin and Olympics silver winner, Alfred Kirwa (1:45.83), the other Kenyan in the final who stood atop of the world in Osaka 2007, just avoided the wooden spoon but despite his first podium failure in a final, he was only too glad to accompany the new champion on his lap of honour.
“It was not my day today. Everything was okay before the race but I really struggled in the final but I’m pleased I got to the final. The start of the race was too fast for my liking and now, I will go back and prepare for next year’s Olympics since this year has ended with nothing for me,” the African silver winner stated.
“But surely, today was all about Rudisha. I told him this morning that his moment had come and he is so strong now. I believe he will break the world record again in Rieti and he can do 1:40 if he gets a good pacemaker,” Kirwa added.
Further down the field,Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski (1:44.80) and America’s Nick Symmonds (1:45.12) came in fourth and fifth as the latter paid his tributes to the new king.
“I wish I have the tools he has to have the ability to run from the front like he did and get away from the traffic. I’m fifth in the world but we do not train to be there, my aim was to win a medal and I was blocked on the inside. To win a medal, you have to avoid that,” the American hopeful expressed.
For the Masai high Moran however, the party will be kept on hold as he still has business to take care off.
“First there is the conclusion of the Diamond League and then I can think of how I’m going to celebrate but today, this was for my family (daughter Charlene and spouse Lizzy), my fans and all Kenyans,” Rudisha summed.
– Mutwiri Mutuota is reporting for Capital Sport from Daegu, South Korea