Rudisha looks to turn dad's silver into gold

Ethiopian newcomer Aman stands between the Kenyan and his Olympic destiny

Kenya's world 800m record holder David Rudisha will bid to go one better than his father 44 years ago and win the Olympic gold medal.

The 23-year-old - whose father Daniel won silver in the 4x400m relay at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City - would also become the first runner from the Masai tribe to win an Olympic gold medal.

"Becoming the world record holder and winning the world title. All these I have achieved, now it's the Olympic title which I am aiming for. It is the dream of every athlete to win the Olympics," Rudisha said.

To keep himself in perfect shape, the long-striding track star has only raced in four races this season, in a well-tailored programme set by his management to suit his Olympic preparations.

As part of those preparations, Rudisha travelled to Australia in early March, and ran a slowish time of 1:44.33 in the Melbourne Classic meet.

But he stepped up a few gears following that, blasting to three world-leading times of the year in Doha, New York and Paris to prove his sharpness ahead of the Olympics.

"David is certainly one of the favourites in London," said his coach Colm O'Connell.

"He's certainly somebody that Kenya and everybody around the world will be keeping their eyes on. But he will also be under pressure because the Olympics are always very special," he added.

Standing between the Kenyan and his Olympic destiny, however is a talented 18-year-old Ethiopian newcomer, Mohammed Aman.

The reigning world indoor 800m champion, Aman became the first athlete to beat Rudisha, handing the Kenyan his first defeat in two years at the end of last season in Milan, Italy.

"Aman is a young boy, good, talented, we saw him in the world indoors. He's a good man and he's working hard," said Rudisha, before the season-opening Doha Diamond League meeting in May.

"It's good for me to have people like him because it's good to get that challenge and he gives good competition which is so healthy for us, gives us quality races and allows us to compete at the top of our abilities."

For Rudisha there is also the intriguing prospect of meeting the Jamaican sprint great Usain Bolt - a man he has drawn a lot of comparisons with in the past - in the 4x400m relay.

But whether he will run the relay and face Bolt depends on the Kenyan relay team reaching the Olympic final, and the national federation picking Rudisha to run the final leg in London.

Rudisha will not compete in the semi-finals, where Kenya is one of the 16 qualified teams, as the relay semis will be clashing with the 800m, but he is already relishing racing Bolt, who broke the men's 100m and 200m world records in Beijing four years ago.

"It would be great seeing two world record holders in different events competing. That would be our meet point because I'd come down to 400m and he would go up from the 100m and 200m," Rudisha told reporters in Doha back in May.


 

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