Africa 800-metre champion David Rudisha has hinted the world record could go below the one minute 41 seconds mark soon.
Rudisha, who broke Denmark’s Kenyan-born Wilson Kipketer’s 13-year-old record in the two-lap race at the Berlin Olympic Stadium on Sunday, set a new mark of 1:41.09.
He has now set sights on the Rieti Athletics meeting, which is part of the IAAF World Challenge this Sunday, as a possible course where he intends to improve it.
“I knew I could break the world record. I was overjoyed when I crossed the line and heard the crowd cheer. I knew I had set the record. But I never knew by what margin,” he said from his base in Berlin.
In the meantime, Rudisha will be competing in Brussels on Friday in the final leg of the IAAF Diamond league. He leads the 800m race with 12 points, four more than Sudan’s Abubakar Kaki.
“I will just seek to run and win. I do not seek to improve my record in Brussels. There are top athletes who will be keen to close me down, but we will see,” said Rudisha.
It is after securing the Diamond trophy that Rudisha, together with pace maker Sammy Tangui, will head to Rieti where he will seek to lower the record further to a point where it will be most difficult for his rivals to improve on.
Kipketer had held the record since August 1997 before Rudisha shaved off two hundredths of a second from the mark by running 1 minute 41.09 seconds in Berlin.
“That was a long time since anyone made an attempt on the record. I want to improve on this new record and take it to a point that a normal human body will be stretched to the maximum to break it,” said Rudisha.
Those keen to confront Rudisha’s record include Sudan’s Abubaker Kaki, the world indoor champion, and world champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa.
“I dedicate the win to my six-month-old daughter Charin and wife Lizzy Naanyu in Kilgoris, who have endured my absence as I worked hard to get the right form away in Iten. Also my coach Colm O’Connell and above all, it has pleased my father, who has communicated to me.”
Kipketer yesterday said Rudisha’s feat didn’t surprise him. “I knew it. But the question was always when and not if. I am happy for him. He takes the record now to Africa. It has been to Europe and America before,” said Kipketer. “I didn’t watch the race but I know Rudisha has been running well this year.”
The year 2009 saw the flowering of Kaki, the second season saw the blossoming of world champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, while the third brought a late blooming of David Rudisha.
Of the three world beaters in 800m race, it has been Rudisha who has exhibited consistency, maintaining his game high in the 2010 track season. His reward, which was presented on Sunday, when on his very first serious attempt, he broke the world record.
The 21-year-old showed no signs of nerves or tiredness in the race, as he bettered the previous mark of 1:41.11 which Kipketer, who went on to represent Denmark, set 13 years ago also on German soil in Cologne.
Until Sunday, Rudisha had no international title or record as a senior athlete to his credit. Only a world junior gold medal in Beijing in 2006 and two African titles over the 800m distance have been his collection ever since he started running five years ago.
He missed the World championship in Osaka, Japan, in 2007 because he was focused on his academics at St Patrick’s High School, Iten, and a tendon injury in 2008 denied him the chance to compete at the Olympics in Beijing.
His first international stage was in 2009 at the Berlin’s Olympic Stadium during the world championship. With all attention on him, Rudisha cracked under pressure and wound up third and was bundled out of the semi-finals, clocking 1:45.40.