Rudisha: I broke world record for my dad
Posted Friday, August 10 2012 at 22:01
David Lekuta Rudisha says thoughts about his Olympic silver medal-winning father, the fine London weather, a carefully selected diet and custom-made Adidas running shoes all contributed to his explosive, record-breaking 800 metres victory in Thursday’s Olympic final described by Lord Sebatian Coe as the “greatest 800m race of all time.”
Rudisha ran a blistering one minute, 40.91 seconds to improve on his own world record and win Kenya’s second gold medal at these Games just as morale in camp was descending after an indifferent start punctuated by National Olympic Committee of Kenya’s administrative gremlins at the Olympic Village.
The morning after was a busy one for the world, and now Olympic, champion on Friday as he hardly had time to celebrate, an overnight schedule of press interviews lined up for him by his management team headed by James Templeton and Adidas.
Meanwhile, bronze medallist and world junior championships silver medallist, Timothy Kitum, roamed freely on the streets on London after running a personal best 1:42.53 in the race that saw all eight athletes run personal best times, save for Sudan’s seventh-placed Abubaker Kaki (1:43.32) who recorded a season’s best.
Kitum took time off to see the sights and sound of London where he will be one of the favourites for the gold medal when the city hosts the 2017 World Championships in Athletics.
There were plenty of stories to tell in Thursday’s memorable final as silver medallist, Botswana’s Nigel Amos time was also a world junior record with Ethiopia’s Mohammed Aman (1:43.20) qualifying as a new Ethiopian national record.
Home boy Andrew Osagie clocked a personal best 1:43.77 and, like his fellow finalists, paid glowing tribute to Rudisha, who turns 24 this year.
“That was a third round and four days and he ran a PB and he ran a world record, but when he’s fresh and he’s got one round, he mar run quicker,” said Osagie, who trains for 13 to 14 weeks each year at Lornah Kiplagat’s High Altitude Training Centre in Iten.
After blowing the world apart, Rudisha made his way to the Royal Box, accompanied by Kitum, to meet Prime Minister Raila Odinga who was among the 80,000 fans at the Olympic Stadium along with his wide Ida. Rudisha’s wife, Lizzy, was also track-side having been invited to these Games by world athletics governing body, IAAF.
The new champion later spoke of how he focused on the night’s race, his father – who won the 4x400m relay silver for Kenya at the 1968 Mexico Games – being his greatest inspiration.
“When I was at the starting line, I thought about my father. I imagined him seated in front of the television back home watching me and I didn’t want to disappoint him. He has always been my role model.
“I once read in a 1960s magazine that my father had attempted the 400 metres world record and an Olympic gold medal but didn’t get either, and I said I must do it for him.”
Rudisha also spoke of his pre-race ritual: “Always it’s important to have a routine, to know the time you take food, how many hours before competition and the type of food. It’s not good to take foods that you are not used to because you don’t know how your body will react.
“Normally I like taking rice and something light like chicken because it is easily digestible. I also took some soup, fruits and some yoghurt. Yoghurt because I come from the Masai community and we like milk and meat.”
Rudisha said he ran in special Adidas spikes: “I used them in the semi-finals and final – they are the new spikes that Adidas made for me.”
The man from Kilgoris, who won the world title in Daegu last year, crossed the 400-metre mark in 49.28 seconds on his way to the world record.
“I didn’t know I could break the world record without a pacemaker, but I was well prepared and know I would break the world record before the end of the season.