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Rudisha to be a Maasai elder

Tuesday September 7 2010

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]

World 800m record holder David Rudisha might have made history miles away, but when he returns home today he will have his family, peers, elders and countrymen line up to offer him consecration that will crown him as a triumphant Maasai elder.

Never before has anyone from his Ol Taki village been given this kind of limelight. Rudisha hails from the same village as former 800m greats Steven Marai and William Yiampoy.

For 25 days he has been in a foreign land with only his training groove for comfort, and like a moran sent out on a mission, Rudisha immersed himself in training and emerged with his reputation greatly enhanced.

Now a week after he made history, his welcome party looks to be more entertaining than the actual showpiece in Europe.

Andrew Sunkuli, the maternal uncle of 21-year-old, who is also the chairman of the celebrations committee, said the athlete stands out as a pillar of hope and a mentor to many in his community and that he deserves a welcome befitting a moran.

“He has changed the way the young people in Kilgoris look at athletics and sports. His performance has given them new hope and, like a true Maasai, his welcome party will have plenty to show of the Maasai culture,” said Sunkuli.

Rudisha’s wife, Lizzy Naanyu, and their six-month-old daughter will be among the hundreds of people who travelled to Nairobi to witness the special ceremony for the man who broke a 13-year-old record twice in seven days.

‘He did it for our daughter’

“I can’t wait to see him. He has been away for so long. He always told me he wanted to achieve something that our daughter will look at and be proud of. He wanted to break the world record and, true, he has done it. I am very proud of him,” said Naanyu.

Sunkuli said the Nairobi function will be attended by the ‘Who is Who’ in the Maasai community and that the family party will be on September 17 at Kilgoris Primary School.

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