Smashing world records and holding World and Olympic titles has not doused the fire in the belly of 800m king David Rudisha.
The 23-year-old Kenyan middle distance runner is motivated to achieve greater heights and script new records. “I wanted to become the World champion and Olympic champion. I want to maintain my performance and participate in the 2013 World championship in Moscow. I am also looking forward to the Rio Olympics in 2016,” said Rudisha, the event ambassador of the Airtel Delhi half-marathon, during an interaction here on Friday.
Rudisha recalled his moment of glory in the London Olympics. He gave a determined performance with an aim to touch the 1.41-mark and ended up going below it (1.40.91mn) to better the previous world record set by him in Rieti, Italy, in 2010. “It was the best moment of my life. It was for the first time I was participating in such a big competition. I was going to the Olympics to win the race.”
Rudisha, who had two 1:42 timings in the pre-Games circuit and a 1.42.12 in the Kenyan trials at an altitude of 1500m in Nairobi, was all set for the challenge. “Before the start of the final, in the warm-up, I had told my manager James that I would close the 400m in 49sec, I can push in the last 400 to finish the race in 1:41…But I didn’t know whether I can set the world record.”
Even though Rudisha knew that nobody had ever broken an 800m world record without a pace-setter, he rode his self-confidence to achieve it. difference).”
Coming from a small community (Masai Rudisha said his feat was a big moment for his people. “It was a great thing to happen for that place… In our community, 22-year-old men are considered as warriors. So they say that I kill a lion by breaking the world record,” said Rudisha, whose return to his country was celebrated with large scale slaughter of cattle and a procession of 10,000 people in a cavalcade.
Rudisha shared how his idol and father Daniel (a member of the Kenyan silver medal winning 4x400m relay squad in the 1968 Mexico Olympics) inspired him. “He said ‘If you want to become an athlete, you have to better my record’.”
Rudisha said he had bettered his father by claiming the gold, but was yet to clock a 44.0s to surpass Daniel’s personal best in the 400m.
The Kenyan star said in case he and his good friend and 100m Olympic champion Usain Bolt raced for 400m, it would be a “50:50” affair. “He is a great sprinter. I have a bit of speed. If I can prepare and improve, it will be good. He can also beat 45sec.”
Rudisha, a cricket follower, gave a nice comparison between Kenyan cricket and Indian athletics. “Kenya is not best in cricket. It is restricted to Nairobi. We do not have facilities. That’s why we are not performing well. Likewise, athletics in India need to be given good facilities to train and they need motivation (from big performers).”