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Record-holder Rudisha opts out of World Relays

Thursday April 9 2015

David Rudisha (centre) runs to victory in his semi-final heat of the men's 800m event at Hampden Park during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 30, 2014. PHOTO | BEN STANSALL |

David Rudisha (centre) runs to victory in his semi-final heat of the men's 800m event at Hampden Park during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 30, 2014. PHOTO | BEN STANSALL |  AFP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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Olympics champion and world 800m record-holder David Rudisha has requested to be exempted from the World Relay Championships when the national team is named on Friday.

Rudisha, who ran impressive times in two meets in Sydney and Melbourne, winning in 1:45.01 and 1:44.94, respectively last month, was expected to get a direct entry in the 4x800m team.

“It would have been a great honour but I think Kenya still has great athletes in the event,” said Rudisha, who wants to focus on trying to reclaim his World title during the August World Athletics Championships in Beijing, China.

“Kenya won the 4x800m last year without me and I believe they can do it much better even with a world record time,” added Rudisha, who is aiming to run 600m at the Ostrava Golden Spike World Challenge on May 26 in the Czech Republic.

Rudisha said he will compete in at least three different races in May before embarking on his specialty at the Diamond League legs of Birmingham on June 7 and New York on June 13.

“I usually start my season with shorter races like 400m, but that was different this time when I went straight to 800m in the Australian events,” said the former world champion. “I now want to try 600m in Ostrava and two more events in 300m, 400m or 1,000m before moving to my specialty.”

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SHIFT FOCUS

After New York, Rudisha will shift focus on preparing for the Kenyan trials for the World Championships due July 24 to 25.

“I will then compete in two races before heading for the World Championships,” added the Olympic champion, who failed to defend his World title at the 2013 Moscow championships due to a knee injury.

RECORD BREAKING FEAT

Rudisha, 26, improved on his world record with a breathtaking performance, clocking 1:40.91 to win the 2012 Olympic Games 800m.

AK head coach Sammy Rono said they would have loved Rudisha to be in the team but they have to respect his wish. "We still have strong athletes to pick the team from," said Rono.

The 2012 World Junior 800m champion, Alfred Kipketer, and national champion Fergusson Rotich, who were in the 4x800m team that prevailed in Bahamas last year, are in Friday's trials.

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