Superb David Rudisha smashes the world record again!

Aug 09, 2012
  • David Rudisha of Kenya celebrates next to the clock after winning gold and setting a new world record in the men's 800m final in 1:40.91.(Photo:London2012)

The question had always been how fast would David Rudisha run in London? Olympic or a World record? Sensibly, he had targeted the former but his swift majestic legs chose the latter.

As they lined up for the start he was rather tensed, absorbed by the race ahead.

To his back left his teammate Timothy Kitum provided the cover he needed for what would go down as another intriguing chapter in the men’s 800m history, as Botswana teenager Amos Nigel started on his left, in lane 5, oddly this is how they lined up at the podium, minutes later.

Rudisha responded with a stunning 1:40.91, confirming his status as arguably the world’s greatest, fastest 800m race ever.

His remarkable time would be the first in previous 20 recorded world records (twice by Rudisha) that an 800m runner had set a new world mark without a pacemaker.

 “When I ran the heats on Monday I felt the track was fast and I targeted the stadium record of 1:42.58. I knew I could do something special and I decided to try. But I wasn’t sure I could break the world record without a pacemaker.”

Evidently his determination paid off, maybe a little earlier than the World champion had anticipated.

“I was very determined after having run 1:41 twice this year. I was just looking for perfect conditions to break the World record. But to run the world record here is something special I couldn’t believe it!”

Rudisha, 24, led the field through the opening 200m at 23.4 and crossed the 400m at 49.28 with Sudanese Abubaker Kaki, Ethiopian Mohammed Aman and Botswana teenager Amos Nijel sweating out to keep pace.

He stepped up after the half way mark, when he sighted that he was within his usual world record pace(having done it twice before in August 2010) an incredible 61 seconds at 500m!

“I pushed on the back straight and I saw 1:14 in 600.Then I knew I was in the world record pace and the cheering crowd pushed me to move even faster when I felt tired towards the end,” he explained.

When he injected his usual supreme pace with 250m left, it was clear that he was racing against the timer, with the rest of the field almost 40m back, relegated to fight for the silver and bronze positions.

With about 20m to go, the old mark of 1:41.01 was already stacked in the archives. He crossed the line with his eyes unbelievably darting on the timer.

1:40, can he? 

He then let out a wild shout of relief at his Olympic Gold medal, glanced at the timer as he howled even louder for his third world record, and another louder one, drowned by the screams of the lucky 80 000 plus crowd who witnessed the historic race, was more of a cry perharps for failing to go even further to the new target 1:40…as always a man of high ambitions.....

Can he do it?

“If I can get a perfect place and get good pacing I can still improve on it (World record),”he replied firmly.

With Rudisha as the pacer, each of the eight finishers had symbols to their timings: WR, WJR, NRs, couple of PBs, confirmation of just how fast these men ran on that warm English night.

Strangely, a few hours prior to the race Rudisha was concerned about how fast the field would run,but not his time.

“During yesterday’s training with Kitum I told him that I was foreseeing everyone breaking their personal bests apart from me."

He continued: “I was afraid because my PB would be a 1:40 that was difficult to run without a pacer.”

Fast rising Nijel eased past a slowing Aman with Kitum charging down as he raced to a world junior record for the silver in 1:41.73, a Botswana record.

Kitum barely 18, impressed with the bronze in 1:42.53, completing the sweep by the three Olympics debutants. Aman favoured for a medal faded to sixth in 1:43.20, though a national record and ahead of Kaki who ran his season best of 1:43.32.

“I was looking forward to break the world junior record in Spain but I failed to do it. Am happy I’ve achieved this while running with a fast guy like Rudisha,”Nijel remarked, still dazed by his success, soon after his junior race in Barcelona and a fifth place at last years World Youth.

Even more rewarding was that the Southern African youngster had realised his Olympic dream alongside the man who had indirectly contributed to his success.

“When I started running I used to watch Rudisha’s videos and see how I run and if I can follow him. After the heats I managed to talk to him. He told me to be open and run my own race and that’s what I did today.” 

Kitum offered: “Rudisha is my role model and am happy I have run with him at the Olympics and won bronze.”

Fathers race complete

The Kenyan capital Nairobi resounded with unison cheers of viva Rudisha as he lifted a country crestfallen by a mix of poor shows in the long distance races often reserved for the country's elite athletes.

But at the back of the warriors' mind, his greatest satisfaction was that he had finally achieved his fathers' (Daniel Rudisha) greatest track desires, an Olympic gold medal.

“I was thinking of how my father was watching me in front of TV and I know he is very proud of me,” he remarked of the man who inspired him into athletics following his silver medal at the 1968 Olympics 4x400m.

“I read in an old magazine how much he wanted to break the 400m world record but he couldn’t do it. By doing this I have fulfilled his dream, an honour.”

He missed Beijing due to injury, but looking back he has no regrets, this was the ultimate crown.

“Disappontment always makes you stronger,"he recalled of his failure to make the last Olympics.

 "I knew my time would come and on my coachs'(Brother Colm O'connel) advice I didnt force it.If i'd gone to Beijing and became the Olympic champion I may not have handled the pressure afterwards as I was young."

His performance on Thursday even downplayed Jamaican Usain Bolts' flawless run that cemented his status as one of the greatest sprinters in history when he added 200m gold(19.32)to the 100m title he won on Sunday, his second Olympic sprint double after Beijing.

“This is incredible. I knew definitely we would have a new Olympic record but a world record. Rudisha is in good shape,” remarked Wilfred Bungei, the 800m Beijing gold medallist who is in London as a commentator for Africa’s Pay TV Supersport.

Sebastian Coe, the former 800m world record holder and LOCOG chairman, who watched the Rudisha shave off about 1.22 seconds off his incredible 1981 mark.

"That was simply an unbelievable performance. David Rudisha showed supreme physical and mental confidence to run like that in an Olympic final. It will go down in history as one of the greatest Olympic victories…”

At the end, a question always pops when will David Rudisha break the 1:40 barrier?



 Evelyn Watta in London

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