Rudisha fulfills father's wish

Kenyas champion runner credits his inspirational dad for his decorated career

As a young kid back in Kenya, David Rudisha stumbled upon a magazine from the 1960s that featured an interview with his father Daniel, an Olympic silver medallist in the 400 metres.

Kenya's gold medalist David Lekuta Rudisha celebrates after winning the men's 800 final at the athletics event during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 9, 2012 in London. Rudisha won the men's 800 metres Olympic title in a new world record of 1min 40.91sec. AFP

The senior Rudisha had expressed his wish to break the world record in his event in that interview but unfortunately, he couldn’t fulfil that wish. On Friday, Daniel must have been a very proud man as his son smashed the world record in the 800 metres, for the third time in his young career.

“I know he is watching me on television back home and feeling very proud of me,” said the junior Rudisha, after winning the Olympic gold medal in the 800M in 1:40.91. “He was not able to come and watch me run here. But he is always part of me. He is the one who has made me come this far. He has been a big inspiration in my career,” he added.

Rudisha had been in great form coming to the Olympic Games, clocking super quick timings in New York and Paris Diamond League meetings. But having run the rounds here, there were doubts whether he would be able to break the world record.

“I was expecting a very fast race. I regularly post one minute 41 seconds in training and I was looking for perfect conditions here. But after the heats and the semifinals, I was feeling a bit tired and woke up wondering if I could break the record,” he said.

Chairman of the Olympic Organising Committee and one of the finest middle distance runners of all-time, Sebastian Coe, was among those impressed by Rudisha's run. “That was simply an unbelievable performance. David Rudisha showed supreme physical and mental confidence to run like that in an Olympic final.”

“Instead of just doing enough to win the race he wanted to do something extraordinary and go for the world record as well. Rudisha's run will go down in history as one of the greatest Olympic victories. I feel privileged to have witnessed it in London,” said the former world record holder.

Rudisha was greeted by a sunny morning and that energised him in his quest for a fast race here. “If the weather stayed like that, I knew I was ready to do something special,” he said.

Rudisha ran the first lap in 49.28 seconds, slower than the 48.20 lap he had clocked while setting the previous record of 1:41.01 seconds in Reity, Italy, two years ago. But he kept upping the pace and thundered down the straight to record the first world mark at the Olympic Stadium.

“Without a pace-setter, it is difficult to clock a world record. But I was in good form and I knew I could do it. When I reached the 600 metres, I saw I was well within the record pace and then I went all out,” he said on the remarkable run.

Rudisha has had his share of disappointments. Injured, he missed the Beijing Olympic Games and then, could not make the final of the World Championships in 2009. But he proved his class with two world records before cornering the world title in Daegu last year and after his latest triumph, the Masai warrior has truly earned his place in the hall of greats.

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