NAIROBI, March 18 – Olympic champion and world 800m record holder David Rudisha is fired up to reclaim the global title he surrendered to Ethiopia’s Mohammed Aman in 2013 when injury ruled him out of a defence in Moscow.
With the biennial IAAF track and field showpiece set for Beijing in the summer, the Kenyan two-lap king is looking forward to another successful run at the Chinese capital where he made his name by clinching the World Junior title in 2006.
“I missed in 2013 Russia, Moscow because I was injured that year. This is another chance for me to go back there and see how best I can do,” said Rudisha.
“I’m looking forward to this because it will be another good stepping stone towards the Olympics next year in Rio. This is my focus and most important thing this season,” the 2011 World champion said before launching his 2015 campaign with a brisk 1:45. 01 victory at the Sydney Track Classic in Australia.
In Australia, he crossed the line two seconds ahead of the nearest competitor when he opened up the afterburners with 200m to go.
Rudisha, who has another Australian date at the Melbourne Track Classic this weekend before returning home to step up training for the start of the international track season, tempered expectations he could produce the kind of performances that led him to the staggering 1:40.91 world record at the London 2012 Olympics final.
“I know there are a lot of expectations for the year. For the years I have been running well, we have seen fast races and fast times. This year, I want to build step by step to Rio,” he said.
His return from knee injury that required surgery and a long rehabilitation period last year robbed him of four crucial months in training. His rustiness showed when he won his first career silver at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games behind Olympic silver medallist, Nigel Amos of Botswana.
“I understand the reason is because I did not have good preparations. I started training in March and going to that level, I can say I did well. It’s obvious if you don’t have good training, you cannot expect a great season,” said Rudisha.
“This is a different year. I’m looking forward to the World Championships in Beijing that will be the climax of the season and I’m happy with my training and I expect a good season,” he added.
In his absence, Aman and Amos took over the mantle, and the Kenyan star is anticipating another tough duel for honors across the season culminating in the Beijing showpiece, underscoring their importance to the global 800m race.
“These are the guys who have given me stiff challenge and I want to appreciate that they are doing well in 800m meters and in my absence, they are raising the flag of 800m high. We like and love to have people like those because they make 800m look like sport,” he said of his key Ethiopian and Botswana biggest threats to his ambitions.