Monday, August 30, 2010

Rudisha kin to slaughter 50 bulls

Rieti meeting | THE DAILY NATION Kenya’s Africa 800 metres champion David Rudisha poses next to the trackside clock indicating his new world record time over the distance in Rieti, Italy. Rudisha is among the top five athletes who have been short-listed for the IAAF 2010 World Athlete of the Year Award.

Rieti meeting | THE DAILY NATION Kenya’s Africa 800 metres champion David Rudisha poses next to the trackside clock indicating his new world record time over the distance in Rieti, Italy. Rudisha is among the top five athletes who have been short-listed for the IAAF 2010 World Athlete of the Year Award. 

By CHRIS MUSUMBA [email protected] and Edwin Nyarangi [email protected]

Anybody can make history but only a great man can write it. Such a man is David Lekuta Rudisha, the new prodigy that the world has now come to know.

After 13 long years with no serious attempt made to end Kenyan-Dane Wilson Kipketer’s 800 metres world record of one minute, 41.11 seconds set in Cologne in 1997, Rudisha emerged to lower the record twice in seven days.

His latest record last Sunday in Rieti, Italy - he shaved two hundredths of a second off Kipketer’s mark to stop the clock at 1:41.09 in Berlin - was an improvement of 0.08 seconds from the Berlin mark and exactly one second better than the time he set on the same course last year.

Now, a huge party that will claim the lives of 50 cows in his home village of Oltanki, Kilgoris, is another record of sorts.

The Daily Nation caught up with Rudisha’s elder brother, Benson Rudisha, who was following the Rieti meet in a Kilgoris restaurant.

Benson said his family is organising a “mother of all parties” to celebrate the achievements of their kin over the last two weeks at their Tararu home in Oltanki, Kilgoris, when the star returns next week.

“All the arrangements are complete and we are set for the big party where 50 bulls will be slaughtered for guests,” said Benson.

The 21-year-old Africa champion says to be able to run that fast only requires the legs of a genius and the courage of a lion or a warrior, a true Masai Moran.

“I am a Moran and had only one target - to break the world record - on my tour of Europe. To do it twice was possible and I am happy to return home a warrior who has triumphed in war,” said Rudisha from his base in Rieti on Monday.

The new world record holder is, however, not blinded by his success and wants to share his glory with an unsung hero, his “tailor-made” pace setter Sammy Tangui, a man they have grown up with and trained together in Iten.

“He is a great pace setter. He has guided me to this success having run according to the instructions. Without him it might probably been harder to get where I am,” said Rudisha.

The world record surprised many, and his wife, Lizzy Naanyu, was equally dumbstruck.

“I know he is a great man, someone who believed in everything he did. But for him to break the record, it was not easy,” she said.

“We talked before he left and agreed that it was possible for him, maybe, to equal the older record. Well, I was surprised to see him run a new world record time,” said Naanyu from their Eldoret home.

Naanyu is undecided as to what sort of party to throw for his husband at his Eldoret base.

“I certainly will be offering him something here in Eldoret, but the major celebration will be in Kilgoris when he goes home and is received by the family,” she said.

The two have a six-month-old daughter Charin to whom Rudisha wants to be a role model.

“He (Rudisha) said he wanted to leave something that our daughter will be happy to learn about when she’s older. Well, this performance has certainly granted him his wish. Now when the girl grows up, she will know her father did all this for her,” said Naanyu.

Rudisha’s father Daniel, 65, is battling with arthritis and he will wait for his son at home to congratulate him for following in his footsteps.

He might have missed his performance in Berlin, but he made sure he charged his battery to power his small television and watch as his son shattered his own record in Rieti.

“He made the whole family proud,” said senior Rudisha.

“I have always told him to be focused. Losing is part of competition and when he went to Berlin last year and came out with nothing, I asked him to review his performance and pick out the wrong steps. He has never disappointed again.”

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