London: David Rudisha fulfilled a family dream of winning an Olympic gold medal when he stormed to victory with a world record time in the men’s 800m at the Olympic Stadium here on Thursday night.
Rudisha was following in his father Daniel’s footsteps by representing Kenya at a Games. Daniel was desperate to win gold, but the 4x400-metre relay team he was part of could only manage silver at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
So his gold ambition moved on to his son, who achieved the dream in fantastic style, blowing away the competition to win in 1 minute 40.91 seconds to break his own world record.
“This one is for my father, who has been an inspiration for me all my life. He tried to win gold but only got a silver and tonight was my night — I could feel I could take the gold. But I set a new world record and I am so thrilled,” Rudisha said after finishing ahead of Botswana’s Nijel Amos and fellow Kenyan Timothy Kitum.
“My father never made it with a gold and tonight I felt I could do it.
“I know he must be sitting at home in front of the television and watching me. He never managed to get a gold, but now I not only have a gold medal, I also have a world record.”
Rudisha’s run saw him become the only man on the planet to run a sub-1:41 time in the 800m, and that too without a pace-setter. “Nobody has even done a world record in this distance without a pacer. But I knew I could as I have been in good shape this year when I have done 1.41 on a couple of occasions. I woke up this morning and saw the sunshine and prayed that it would stay like this. And it all happened,” Rudisha said.
“My father is the one who has made me come this far. He is such a great inspiration to me. It was his desire to break the 400m world record and he could not do it. I did it for him, but in a different distance.”
The Kenyan was in a class of his own as he set a fast pace. He finished the first 400m in 49 seconds and by the time he had come to the 600m turn, Rudisha found that a world record was possible. “I got a bit tired in the last 100m, but the crowd just pushed me on,” he recalled.