Rudisha defends titles and country’s honour

While an athlete took a controversial dive to the finishing line and the rains came down on Monday night, a Kenyan legend was a ball of nerves and energy waiting for his turn on the straightaway.

David Lekuta Rudisha’s journey to the Rio Olympics was not an easy one. As with most sports, practice and dedication in the face of difficulty can take a toll on an athlete. When the towering Rudisha seemingly appeared out of the blue to make his mark in the London Olympics in 2012 winning what has been described as the “The Greatest 800 Meter Race Ever.” The stunning performance beat the world record, broke the 1:41 barrier and almost every runner in that race achieved their personal best times.

The worldwide fame and recognition followed the former Chief Inspector around. He had turned into a national hero, he was endorsing products and the awards just kept streaming in. From the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) bestowed to him by the Kenyan government to the Association of National Olympic Committees Award for Best Male Athlete of London 2012.

Then suddenly as soon as it happened he disappeared. Suffering from a knee injury meant he had to bow out of the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Athletics. Consistent injury and recuperation has affected his performance in subsequent years. Most people did not watch the men’s 800-metre final expecting the 2012 treatment but we were hopeful.

Flanked by teammates Alfred Kipketer and Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich, Rudisha battled the weather and the cold to put on a thrilling show. Finishing the race at just over 1 min 42 seconds, it might not have been a world record but it still put viewers at the edge of their seats as he surged ahead of the pack at the last 100 metres.

Rudisha has called the win, ‘the greatest moment of my career’ and President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated him on  the historic win, writing “We are so proud of David Rudisha for retaining his 800 metres gold at Rio.” We are sure the best is yet to come.

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