NAIROBI, Kenya, August 9- He promised, he delivered and how! David Rudisha, Olympic champion in a world record, his legend cemented forever and Kenya can finally celebrate their second gold medal of London 2012 on one of the best nights in the country’s sporting and indeed any history!
Mark Thursday, August 9, 2012 in your calendars since it is the day that the country’s most recognisable distance runner, 23-year-old Ol Tanki village born Rudisha stopped the clock at an unbelievable 1:40.91 to bag his maiden Olympic title and leave his own 1:41.01 previous record scattered all over the Olympics Stadium.
Compatriot Timothy Kitum ensured Kenya had two athletes in the podium when he ran a huge personal best of 1:42.53 to take bronze behind Botswana’s African champion, Nijel Amos who chased the disappearing legend to the line in a staggering 1:41.73 for silver
Rudisha’s powerful un-paced two laps to add the only title his glittering CV did not posses will surely rank as one of the most commanding individual displays in Olympic history, as he fulfilled his pledge to gift London 2012 with a moment to cherish.
Pending the usual world governing body IAAF procedures, Rudisha’s jaw-dropping scorching solo gun to tape run will be spoken off for generations to come.
Besides his own benchmark, Norway’s Vebjorn Rodal must have watched in admiration as his previous Olympics record of 1:42.58 set in Atlanta 1996 disappeared from the annals of history the moment Rudisha approached the homestretch with the clock reading 1:14.30 at the 600m mark.
In the end he did not need his trusted rabbit, Sammy Tangui, who led him through the 1:41.09 and 1:41.01 world records he ran in 2010 since he was watching alongside millions of Kenyans who stuck to their television sets to watch it all unfold.
Having tested his running machine without Tangui in running to 1:41.74 and 1:41.54 in New York and Monaco sandwiched between his stunning 1:42.12 altitude record in Nairobi inside a month, the freshly coined Olympics champion knew he was ready for his date with destiny.
From the gun, the Team Kenya captain was quickly in front, going through the 400m in 49.28 before he opened up, opened up even more and finally, released the blasters to arrive in the line in a time that shattered another barrier in men 800m- that of dipping under 1:41.
So, in summary, Rudisha is the Olympic, World, Continental titleholder and former two-time African gold medallist.
In his slipstream, the ‘second’ race of the night was developing where two time world indoor champion, Abubaker Kaki of Sudan looked set to follow Rudisha to the line as he did in Daegu last year until the final bend when the chasing hound of the talented trio of teenagers homed in for the prey.
First, the Ethiopian who succeeded him in Istanbul, Mohammed Aman, 19, moved past before Botswana’s 18-year-old sensation, Nijel Amos the World Junior and continental crown holder assumed the bridesmaid role to the end.
Meanwhile, the second Kenyan and World Junior silver winner, Kitum came storming through in the homestretch for bronze, just falling short of catching Amos who dipped under the previous ceiling in 800m running, 1:42 for the first time in his young career, a mark Rudisha has now breached a record seven times.
It was a fitting end to the fastest final in Olympics history as the 800m running order was ripped apart and a new generation ushered in.
The marvel of Rudisha, who pumped the air in unbridled delight before receiving the flag and posing next to his new standard before he took his well acclaimed lap of honour had seen the Kenyan become the first competitor in the London 2012 track and field programme to break the world record.
Having promised London 2012 organising committee chairman, Lord Sebastian Coe a memorable show in his event, he not only paid his due but also crafted one of the most enduring legacies of the 30th Olympiad.
“That was simply an unbelievable performance,” LOGOC Chairman Sebastian Coe, himself a former 800m World record holder told IAAF.
“David Rudisha showed supreme physical and mental confidence to run like that in an Olympic final. Instead of just doing enough to win the race he wanted to do something extraordinary and go for the World Record as well. Rudisha’s run will go down in history as one of the greatest Olympic victories. I feel privileged to have witnessed it in London.”
As far as Kenya is concerned, the medal tally reads 2 gold, 2 silver and two bronze, Rudisha adding to Ezekiel Kemboi’s men steeplechase top medal in the tally that counts.
As for Kitum, he was speechless after the race of his life.
“He had told me that he was going for the world record and advised me not go at his pace. He asked me to go through 400m at 50 to 51 seconds and I would be alright. I did not expect a medal but I’m so delighted I have one and to be part of history,” the Olympics bronze winner who succeeded compatriot Alfred Kirwa in the same podium position gushed.