Rudisha out for historic third Olympics crown in Tokyo 2020
Two-time Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha is out to step out on his own in history as the first athlete to win three gold medals over the two-lap distance at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Speaking in India where he was the International Event Ambassador of Sunday’s Stanchart Dubai Marathon, the world record recorder has also set sights on defending his crown at the August IAAF World Championships in London.
The Daegu 2011 and Beijing 2015 world champion became the first man since Norwegian Peter Snell in 1964 to repeat as Olympics men 800m champion when he stopped the clock in 1:42.15, the second fastest winning time at the quadrennial sporting showpiece.
It was a commendable encore to his jaw-dropping victory at London 2012 where he dropped the astonishing 1:40.91 world record.
“I know it is not easy to be at the top for three Olympics. Normally, they say you can be at the top maybe for one Olympics or two but to stay for the third will be an ultimate goal for me.
“I’m putting a lot of effort, a lot of hard work, but I know it is not easy. God willing, if my body allows me, I will give everything I’ve got and this will be my biggest achievement and after that, I will have to say bye-bye to track and field,” Rudisha said in a television interview.
Douglas Lowe (Britain/1924 and 1928), Mal Whitfield (USA/1924 and 1928) and Snell are the only other two-time Olympic champions at the distance and none of the greats went on to clinch a third.
Rudisha who is also a two-time African champion and the Commonwealth silver medallist told of the huge void that will be left in track and field when Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt hangs his spikes at the end of the season.
The Triple-triple Olympics and 11-time world champion and record holder will embark on his farewell campaign where he is focusing on only the 100m.
“It’s going to be sad because the fans and fellow athletes love him. He’s saying his time has come and we are going to miss him because he has been the highlight of our sport and the huge star.
“Some of us say we are happy to have seen physically, running and competing at the same championships and events and we wish him well since he is a legend,” Rudisha said in paying tribute to the signature act in track and field for the past decade.
Speaking at the IAAF World Gala in Monaco last year, Bolt said they would be no way he could compete against Rudisha over the 400m putting paid to the one race the sport’s fans would have loved to see against two of the most revered stars of their generation.
Rudisha was at the finish line when compatriot Bornes Kitur won the women’s race as Alphonce Simbu from Tanzania took the honours in the men’s competition at the Stanchart Marathon in Dubai.
He recovered from debilitating injury that saw him miss out of the 2013 World Championships in Moscow and most of the 2014 season to return to the apex of his distance and his throne as ‘King David’ when he won his second world and Olympics titles in Beijing and Rio.