IAAF WORLD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR 2010.
I talked to David Lekuta Rudisha the day before he won the 800m in the Grand Prix at Crystal Palace in a British All Comers record of 1:42.91. That took Steve Cram's All Comers record off the books, which had stood for 25 years.
When did David Rudisha have that initial feeling of wanting to run
" When I was still young and still a kid in school at St Francis Secondary school in Iten.' 'My Father was a good runner.(Daniel Rudisha who ran for Kenya in the 4x400 in the Mexico Olympic of 1968. His team Kenya came second in 2:59.6, behind the Americans and Daniel Rudisha ran the anchor leg in 44.7).
Was it the fact that his Father was a good runner that inspired him then
' I just liked running. I started out without any big dreams that one time I would become a world beater'
'It was when I became serious I found athletics was almost a business. If I ran well I could achieve well. That was when I started to train in 2003-2004.'
'It was in 2005 I found and met my coach Colm O'Connell an Irish Priest'
When was his first breakthrough.
' My first achievement was winning the World Junior 800 title in Beijing, China in 2006. That was my big step to start my career.' (1:47.40 in August of that year.The next year he ran a PB of 1:44.15)
Talking about his coach " He has been a very good coach since I met him and he has been coaching me very nicely. Since then we have been working together very well and I have been improving my times.'
Did David read about people like Paul Ereng and Kip Keino
' When in 2003-2004 I started getting the passion for the sport I read the magazines and saw the top athletes of the time and that inspired me.I read about Billy Konchella who was coming from the same place that I came from the Masai. It was really good for me to know that I could make it, knowing I am coming from the Masai too'
More about his coach
' My coach is very specific. He knows how to coach the youth and normally coaches mostly youths. He knows how to coach them gradually, the type of training graduating to the senior level. The training as a senior is almost similar. That is depending on the duration and time and how they are improving. You can just improve with quality and quantity as time goes on.'
David Rudisha set a couple of World records in 2010 over the 800. 1:41.09 on the 22nd of August in Berlin and 1:41.01 on the 29th of August in Rieti so, which one stood out and, was it a surprise, so early in his career, to run so fast at the age of 21 .
Which World record stood out for him?
'Really people expected me to do that with my structure and my running stride. People were telling me 'One time you will break the World record.' That was even when I was in school! '
'I was really determined to see that at one time I would break the World's record. Breaking the World record was something that was seen by many and, they were expecting me to do it. I knew at one time I would do it.'
'The special one was the first one in Berlin. I was just trying but I was not expecting to break the World record there, and after that I was expecting to run even faster in Rieti. The Berlin World record was a little bit tougher to break that'
Did David Rudisha feel he would run for a long time
'I enjoy running and running is my passion. That is my career .I want to run for many years. To be consistent in my running is my focus, to be running well for a couple of years'
'It is always important to focus in your event. That is what I am really doing at 800 and focusing on that only. I don't want to run 1500. I do 400's for specific training (He ran 45.50 last year) ' I am focusing on the 800.'
There is a lot of good competition in the World like Abubaker Kaki and Boaz Lalang which must help push him forward
"Good competition there. Also very determined athletes in the 800 and it makes for good stiff competition that we give each other.'
Did he feel that in a big competition he might do a 400 in a relay
'As a junior I did that. Maybe at a Championship if I am feeling strong I can help the team."