BARCELONA (Reuters) - David Rudisha’s dazzling world record to win the 800 metres at the London Olympics was the highlight of the Games for many, including organising chairman Sebastian Coe, and the Kenyan believes he can go even faster.
Rudisha, who turns 24 next month, left his rivals trailing with a scorching run from the front to set world record of one minute 40.91 to beat the 1.41.01 he set two years previously.
“This year I was looking for something like 1.40.50 and I think I was capable of that,” Rudisha, flanked by Briton Coe and fellow former world record holders Wilson Kipketer of Kenya and Cuban Alberto Juantorena, told a news conference at the IAAF centenary celebration in Barcelona.
Rudisha said it was becoming increasingly difficult to trim the record but Juantorena, Olympic champion in the 400 and 800 metres in 1976, said he was sure the softly-spoken Maasai tribe member would run below 1.40 at some point.
“Kipketer’s record was 1.41.11 - I have broken three world records but only taken 0.20 off the mark, which is not a big margin,” Rudisha said.
“It is also difficult to repeat it again,” he added.
“If you do it one time it’s not something you can do every day. To say 1.39 it’s still unpredictable.”
Coe and Kipketer, neither of whom won the 800 gold despite holding the world record, paid tribute to Rudisha’s performance in London, with Kipketer, now 39, saying it had left him “shaking”.
Coe said: ”To me it was the performance of the Games in any sport, but I‘m biased.
“It was an extraordinary thing to do in an Olympic final,” added the 56-year-old.
”Those of us who are lucky enough to run in an Olympic final tend to play by percentages and not risk too much. The most important thing is to get across the line in first place.
“This guy was so much better and so much more mentally confident. I thought it was extraordinary to bring that focus to bear in an Olympic final. It was a phenomenal piece of running.”
Called the “Pride of Africa” after winning the world junior title in 2006, Rudisha missed the Beijing Olympics through injury and was boxed in during the semi-finals at the 2009 world championships.
He said he was not planning to switch to 1,500 metres anytime soon and hoped other athletes would challenge him and help push him to greater feats in 2013, when the world championships are being held in Moscow in August.
”I just love 800 and I want to stay in 800 for quite some time,“ he said. ”It’s always good to have good other athletes because it motivates you to work harder.
“For me it’s quite difficult because most of the time I am used to front running. To run from the front you have to motivate yourself because most of the things you have to think by yourself.” (Editing by Ken Ferris)