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David Rudisha, Alfred Kipketer, Ferguson Rotich through to 800m semis

Friday August 12 2016

From left: Puerto Rico's Andres Arroyo, Kenya's Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich and Poland's Adam Kszczot compete in the Men's 800m Round 1 heat during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 12, 2016. PHOTO | PEDRO UGARTE |

From left: Puerto Rico's Andres Arroyo, Kenya's Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich and Poland's Adam Kszczot compete in the Men's 800m Round 1 heat during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 12, 2016. PHOTO | PEDRO UGARTE |  AFP

STEVE OMONDI
By STEVE OMONDI
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IN RIO DE JANEIRO

World 800m record-holder David Rudisha led his teammates Ferguson Rotich and Alfred Kipketer into the semi-finals of the 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Ro de Janeiro on Friday.

The World and Olympic champion won Heat 3 in 1.45.09 in a dominating fashion.

Rudisha fired out a warning to rivals on the track at the Olympic Stadium, pulling away at 600m to clock the fastest qualifying time of 1min 45.09sec and will be joined in the semi-finals by a host of favourites including Djibouti's Ayanleh Souleiman, Bosnian Amel Tuka, Poland's Adam Kszcot and American Boris Berian.

Botswana's Commonwealth champion and 2012 Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos, however, failed to make the cut, fading down the home stretch to come in 5sec down on the lead time.

"It was good," said Rudisha, whose world record, gold medal-winning run at the London Games was one of the performances of those Olympics.

"It was just cruising to qualify for the semis tomorrow, which is main part of the competition as you have to secure your place in the final.

"I'm in good form, there's no doubt about that. I'm very confident because I'm finding my finishing power in the last 100m, so I think I'm in a position to control my races again."

Rudisha admitted to feeling the pressure of defending his title over the two-lap race.

"There is a lot of pressure, of course, coming here as defending champion, as a world record holder and as a world champion. There's a lot of expectation," he said.

"Last year and this year are completely different. I feel like I'm in better form, almost like my good years between 2010-12.

"My training's been going well. I haven't been performing well in some of the races I've had.

"I had a bad start in Shanghai, I came to Stockholm in bad weather. It only improved in Birmingham in the 600m and Budapest where I ran the world leading time."

Additional reporting by AFP

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