SZEKESFEHERVAR, Hungary, July 19- Two weeks after finishing an uncharacteristic third at the Kenyan Olympic Trials, world and Olympic champion David Rudisha returned to winning ways by running a world-leading 1:43.35 in the 800m at the Istvan Gyulai Memorial in Szekesfehervar on Monday night.
He almost missed out on taking a place on Kenya’s Olympic team when he made some poor tactical decisions in Eldoret earlier this month before eventually battling to a third-place finish. In Szekesfehervar, though, he made no such mistakes.
The world record-holder followed pace maker Bram Som, albeit some eight metres adrift, as the first lap was covered in 50.90.
He then started to dig in with a lap to go in a long run for home. Compatriot Jonathan Kitilit tried to stay with him but couldn’t make up any ground as Rudisha charged through the line in a world-leading 1:43.35, his fastest time in exactly two years. Kitilit finished second in 1:44.16.
On an evening with perfect conditions for athletics, there were a handful of big surprises.
Akani Simbine produced the run of his life to win the 100m in a South African record of 9.89. Aided by a useful 1.9m/s tailwind, former world record-holder Asafa Powell got off to the best start, but Simbine ended ahead in the second half to cross the line 0.03 ahead of the Jamaican.
Simbine went on to win the 200m in a personal best of 20.16 (0.7m/s), finishing 0.08 ahead of USA’s Isiah Young.
Elsewhere, Blessing Okagbare sped to a wind-assisted 10.92 (2.6m/s) win in the 100m over Marie Josee Ta Lou (10.95), two-time Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown won the 200m in 22.52, and Kirani James won the 400m with relative ease in 44.60.