Rudisha 'looks the part' of a champion on way to gold

The unbeatable Kenyan clocks 1:43.91 before Seb Coe, the former 800m record-holder, states he is set to become a legend.

DAEGU, South Korea // David Rudisha, the world record holder, proved himself the worthy successor to 800 metres greats Seb Coe and Wilson Kipketer on Tuesday with a supreme, front-running performance to win gold at the world championships.

The 22-year-old Kenyan, unbeaten over the distance since failing to make the world championships final in 2009, cruised to victory ahead of his main rival Abubaker Kaki with Russia's Yuriy Borzakovskiy taking the bronze.

Rudisha's time of 1:43.91 was almost three seconds off the record he set in Italy last August, but the ease with which he blew away a field, described by Coe as one of the best for years at a world championships, suggests it will take a superhuman effort to beat him at next year's London Olympics.

Gunning out of lane six, Rudisha battled Kaki stride for stride to gain the upper hand and moved his lanky frame in front of the Sudanese 21 year old after the lane break.

Kaki perched himself on Rudisha's shoulder, with Borzakovskiy motoring along on the outside in third, but when the Kenyan eased himself through the gears the minor medals were all that was left to play for.

"I am very happy," Rudisha said. "Having the world title is very important to me, more important that the world record.

"The title will remain with you for the rest of your life but the record can be broken."

Rudisha ran 1:41.09 in Berlin on August 22 last year, shaving two hundredths of a second off Kipketer's 1997 mark, and lowered it to 1:41.01 a week later in Italy.

Kenya has enjoyed great success at the world championships in South Korea, Rudisha claiming his country's third gold after the women's marathon and 10,000m.

"I controlled the race from the start, that was my plan, I did not want to make a mistake. And I also knew that I was in good shape," he said.

"At the moment we Kenyans are very happy to see our flag rising so often.

"After Daegu, I will go back to training and see if I can put my PB [personal best] down in the next races."

Rudisha was initiated as a Masai warrior after breaking Kipketer's record in 2010. He now looks set to be anointed the best 800 metre runner of all time.

Coe, whose own world record stood for 16 years before Denmark's Kipketer broke it, said there was more to come from Kenyan.

"He will get quicker," Coe said of Rudisha, whose father Daniel won a silver medal as part of Kenya's 4x400m Olympic relay team in Mexico City in 1968.

"He's outstanding because he looks very good as he runs. I like athletes to look good at that distance and I think Wilson was the right person to take my record because he just looks the part.

"And I think the athlete that has looked the best 800 metre runner in the last decade beyond Wilson has now got his record," he said.

Published: August 31, 2011 04:00 AM


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