Saturday, December 1, 2012

Rudisha leaps to glory at AK Golden Gala

PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO Attorney General Githu Muigai presents Olympic champion David Rudisha with one of the night’s awards during the Athletics Kenya Golden Gala at the Nairobi Club on November 30, 2012.

PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO Attorney General Githu Muigai presents Olympic champion David Rudisha with one of the night’s awards during the Athletics Kenya Golden Gala at the Nairobi Club on November 30, 2012.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI [email protected]

A week after claiming the IAAF World Performance of the Year Award in Barcelona, David Rudisha was at home on Friday evening, dancing to a Masai traditional song.

It was celebrations galore, once again, for the world 800 metres record holder, world champion and Olympic gold medallist after he was declared Athlete of the Year during the Athletics Kenya Golden Gala at the Nairobi Club.

The 23-year-old runner from Kilgoris, who also received three more awards on the night, joined “Masai Warriors” dancers from Narok on stage for the Adumu dance.

To reward Rudisha with AK’s Athlete of the Year Award after he had received the London Olympic Games, Middle Distance and World Record awards, was chief guest Attorney General Githu Muigai.

“I have never been a great sportsman but I am one of the greatest fans of athletics,” Muigai said.

“It’s a humbling experience to share the stage and shake hands with some of the world finest former and current athletes from Kenya.”

Muigai advised the elite athletes to continue inspiring confidence into the youth so to help them understand who truly they are.

Braved two-year break

“Our children deserve positive role models and confidence to perform in any field,” said Muigai.

The 2008 Olympic 800m champion Pamela Jelimo, who braved a two-year break to win the World Indoor Championship title this year, won the Comeback Award as well as Middle Distance accolade.

World Junior 1,500m champion Faith Chepng’etich got the Outstanding Performance of the Year Award while the Coach of the Year awards went to Japheth Kemei (junior), John “Warm-up” Mwithiga (senior) and Julius Kirwa (long service).

Geoffrey Wachira of Citizen TV was named the best journalist (electronic).

Almost one year after winning the World 800m title in Daegu, South Korea, Rudisha not only ensured that the Olympic gold remained in Kenya but achieved it in style by breaking his won World record with a new time of 1:40.91.

It was Rudisha who broke the 13-year-old world record of 1:41.11 held by Kenyan-born Dane Wilson Kipketer and set on August 24, 1997, in Cologne, Germany.

Rudisha clocked 1:41.09 in Berlin on August 29, 2010, and improved it one week later in Rieti with a time of 1:41.01.

Then came his London Olympic exploits on August 9 this year.

“This was a great year for me and Kenya because donning an Olympic title one year after the world title and in a world record-breaking streak is marvellous and I thank God for his blessings, wisdom and good health,” Rudisha said.

“There is nothing I can ever wish for in life as an athlete, other than have these IAAF and AK awards being the icing on the cake.”

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