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Recovering Rudisha opts out of African Championships

Friday August 1 2014

David Rudisha celebrates taking silver in the final of the men's 800m athletics event at Hampden Park during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 31, 2014. Rudisha has opted out of the African Athletics Championships set for Marrakech, Morocco. PHOTO | BEN STANSALL | AFP

David Rudisha celebrates taking silver in the final of the men's 800m athletics event at Hampden Park during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 31, 2014. Rudisha has opted out of the African Athletics Championships set for Marrakech, Morocco. PHOTO | BEN STANSALL | AFP 

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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Olympic and World 800m record holder David Rudisha will skip the African Athletics Championships starting next week in Marrakech, Morocco.

Rudisha, who won the Africa titles in 2008 (Addis Ababa) and in 2010 (Nairobi), said he wants to concentrate on refining his training programme to enable him to come back fully fit next year.

“I will only compete in selected races as I focus more on my training programme,” said Rudisha, who lost the Commonwealth Games final battle to Nijel Amos of Botswana on Thursday night.

Rudisha said he was satisfied and happy with his performance in Glasgow.

“The race wasn’t bad other than the rainy and cold weather that slowed the race. I am happy with what I have achieved, but I wish I could have done much better,” Rudisha said.

TOUGH SEASON

Rudisha reflected on what has been a tough season for him, having missed many training sessions late in March.

“I need to work on my last 100m since I feel something is lacking. That's why I need to enhance my preparations,” Rudisha said.

“My training programme that usually starts in November was delayed to March this year since I was undergoing knee injury rehabilitation.”

A packed-to-capacity 49,000-seater Hampden Park had waited for the battle of titans pitting Rudisha against Nijel.

As usual, Rudisha shot to the front with compatriot Ferguson Rotich in tow as they attempted to lock out their rivals with a superb front running.

Things seemed to work right until the final bend as the crowd erupted. But the boxed-in Nijel would find his way out of the inner lane before sprinting past Rudisha on the home straight.

Nijel, who won silver medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games, clocked 1:45.18 to triumph as Rudisha timed 1:45.48.

THIRD DEFEAT

Rotich came in fourth in 1:46.09, behind South Africa’s Olivier Andre, who clocked 1:46.03. It was Rudisha’s third defeat this season at the hands of Nijel after the Eugene and Monaco legs of the Diamond League.

“I could have beaten him again, but Rudisha is the only man I know in 800m. I always tell him I grow each time I race against him,” said Nijel.

“He (Rudisha) is such a gentleman and an inspiration after he came to congratulate and tell me that I am growing up very well,” said the Botswana athlete, who added that he will be a man like Rudisha the moment he tacks in the World and Olympic titles besides breaking the World record.

“Rudisha made the 2012 London Olympics so special since almost everybody ran his personal best or broke national records.”

Rudisha improved his World record with a new time of 1:40.91 when he won the Olympic title as Nijel returned a World junior and national record of 1:41.73 and bronze medallist Anthony Kitum clocked a personal best 1:42.53.

This story first appeared on SportOn!

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