Athletics Athletics

‘King David’ clears first London hurdle


NAIROBI, Kenya, August 6- World record holder and champion David Rudisha took the first step towards a coveted Olympics crown when he led from gun to tape to qualify in his men 800m Heats on Monday.

Rudisha crossed 400m in 52.70 and 600m in 1:20.32 before arriving at the finish in 1:45.90 to book his place at Tuesday’s semis, the penultimate barrier to his cherished dream of bagging a maiden Olympics title.

Kenya will have three contesting the semis when World Junior silver medallist, Timothy Kitum and Anthony Chemut, a semi finalist over 400m at the 2009 World Youth, also made their way from the heats by finishing second in their races.

All eyes were however, on Rudisha, the man who arrived in London with huge expectations with talk of a possible tilt at his own 1:41.01 world record or the Olympics standard of 1:42.58 set by Norwegian Vebjørn Rodal at Atlanta 96 depending on what version of his intent you want to believe.

Without breaking sweat, Rudisha rhythmically set about ensuring he will be in the semis, never opening up his strides to the maximum as he cruised to the victory in a dominant display, runner-up Musaeb Abdulrahman Balla of Qatar trailing him home in 1:46.37, the yawning gap all to see.

Home runner and GB’s hopeful, teenager Andrew Osagie was the third across the line and the final to qualify from Heat 2 when he ran 1:46.42.

Kitum, who won Commonwealth Youth gold and World Youth bronze last year, competed in the next heat which was the fastest of the day where he was beaten to the line by Worlds silver winner, Sudan’s Abubaker Kaki Khamis, with the clocks returning 1:45.51 against 1:45.72 in the close finish.

The Sudanese two-time World Indoor gold winner led from the start timing 52.18 and 1:19.69 at the 400m and 600m marks as Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Ladan Mohammed came third in 1:46.09 to also book his place at the semis.

The third Kenyan two-lap exponent Chemut raced to the lead from the off and covered 400m in 53.44 and 600m in 1:20.93 before Ethiopia’s main hope and World Indoor champion caught up with him in the final curve and led him to the line in 1:47.34 against 1:47.42 as Spain’s Antonio Manuel Reina came through to join them in the semis with 1:47.44.