The world’s 800m champion David Rudisha became the first male athlete in 52 years to successfully defend his 800m title two times in a row, after he produced an impressive performance to emerge at the top of the Rio Olympics Monday.
The world record holder was trailing behind his Kenyan teammate Alfred Keter, but managed to pull off a last-minute lap kick that saw him finish the race in a season’s record time of 1:42:15.
“I had no doubts before. The feeling in my body was good. It is great to win such a big competition,” Rudisha told SuperSport after the race.
The 29-year-old Kenyan police inspector was followed by Algeria’s reigning Olympic 1500m champion Taoufik Makhloufi who was followed by Clayton Murphy of the United States.
Despite his earlier impressive pace-making run, 19-year-old Alfred Kepketer fell back to position seven. But in the end it was celebrations for team Kenya as King Rudisha lifted the Kenyan flag in Rio.
Who’s David Rudisha?
Born in December 1988, David Lekuta Rudisha is a celebrated Kenyan middle-distance runner and a world record holder for the men’s 800m race. He is the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Champion and World Champion.
He started out as a 400m runner, but his coach, Irishman Colm O’Connell, discovered his potential to compete in 800m races.
In 2006, Rudisha became the world junior champion and proceeded to break the world record with a run of 1:40:91 at the London 2012 Olympics.
Currently, Rudisha has the three fastest time records and six of the top eight fastest times in the men’s 800m race.
In November 2010, at the age of 21, the Kenyan runner became the youngest-ever athlete to win the IAAF World Athlete of the Year Award. He was also awarded with the Kenyan Sportsman of the Year Award.
His father, Daniel Rudisha, is a former 4x400m runner and a silver medalist from the 1968 Olympics. Rudisha’s mother, Naomi, is also a former 400m runner.
The 31-year-old champion is married with two daughters.