Rudisha distraught in defeat

By evelyn watta
Aug 01, 2021
  • Nijel Amos crosses the line to win the 800m beating David Rudisha in the home stretch.

GLASGOW, It was a crushing defeat. That stung far and wide especially so for millions of Kenyans who followed the Commonwealth games 800m men’s race. Their king had been deposed.

This was the definitive event here in Glasgow, even the two distance sweeps mattered little.

A performance that also hushed the crowd packed at Scotland's national stadium-the 49,000 capacity Hampen park.

They had hoped for a great race, a run bordering the magic that lit up the Olympic stadium in London about two years.

“Rudisha the legend,” “world record” read some banners, as the runners lined-up the world record holder, the towering figure displaying a genuine desire to win the commonwealth games but a hint of doubt on his face- a nervy look, a man still battling to regain his form that pushed him fiercely against clock. On his right a smiley swaggering lad, just under two minutes from glory.

Rudisha’s dash for the front was calculated. He crossed the halfway mark at a steady 52.71, but noticeably struggling to regain the commanding control that hurled him to the world title in 2011.

His compatriot Fergusson Rotich had his back. He slowly eased forward past the mid pack that also included the rather relaxed Amos, anticipating his kick.

Rotich, struggling with an injured leg purposely positioned just on the back-left providing cover for Rudisha essentially boxing Amos, the Olympic silver winner as they crossed the 600m-point.

At the final bend, the warrior from Kilgoris looked certain to wrap up the gold, the only title missing from his roll of honour.

Amos' burst of speed 

But even the crowds were cautious in their support, imaginably waiting for the surge.

About 50m to go the teeth-gritting Amos produced a well-timed burst of speed to win the exciting race. The waving Kenyan flags, banners peppering the stadium dropped.

The stadium ushering its latest club champion, the 12th 800m men’s Commonwealth gold winner as Amos gushed over the line in 1:45.18.

Delayed comeback for the King, nothing near the bolting dash that scuttled his challengers in an unusual championship second of 1:45.48 as South African Andre Olivier closed in for bronze in 1:46.03. Rotich fourth in 1:46.09, Evans Kipkorir eighth (1:47.34).

“I took up the pace in a tactical way I was happy with the way it progressed. But I must admit I am finding it a bit difficult in the last 100m,” conceded Rudisha, the usual sparkle in his eyes lacking. Wounded.

“I would have wanted and wished to win the gold medal.I really wanted it. But let me not forget it has been a tough season for me,” said the 25 year old who will skip the African championships, avoiding another pressured duel.

Protecting the brand 

Protecting the world record brand after the strenuous leg injury. “It has been a little bit tough for me to beat these young guys this year am not losing hope. I am still on and am focusing for next year that will be an important year for me ahead of Rio Olympics.”

The stud-wearing Botswana peaking for his first senior gold after the Universiade title last year and the World juniors triumph in 2012.

“I panicked a little bit in my last 100 because I saw I was being boxed and it was not going to easy to get out. My training partner (Olivier) was behind me he saw that I was boxed and he moved forward to make the way for me. I am lucky I was with him,” he said smiling revealing his gleaming golden tooth.

“In the last 100 I am always strong I think it was because of the 400 I began with. Because when I changed my running style to high knees and long stride I caught him,” carried on Amos, his cramped right leg heavily taped, checking any discomfort after the injury that also kept him out of action like ‘the king’ soon after the classic race.

He continued animatedly: “It was my brothers birthday today and I told him - I will give you a present today by winning. I was pained after missing the world championship they did 1:44. I could have gotten the gold medal then easily.”

Distinct plans for the season. Amos zealous.

“I am in good shape. Next year I should come back with Rudisha and race together again and try to lower the record,” concluded Amos.

Rudisha restrained, cautious. “No record for now. I could do a few 400meters first then go to Australia to start my preparations for the next season and also try the 600m in Birmingham.

Many more duels to come between the two Africans.