Rio de Janeiro: Kenya’s David Rudisha romped to victory in the men’s Olympic 800 metres final here, securing his second straight gold medal in the event.
The 27-year-old reigning world champion clocked one minute 42.15 seconds to finish 0.45 of a second ahead of Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi at the Olympic Stadium on Monday, reports Xinhua.
The United States’ Clayton Murphy took bronze in a personal best of 1:42.93.
France’s Pierre-Ambroise Bosse was fourth in 1:43.41 and Kenya’s Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich came fifth in 1:45.55.
Rudisha’s time was 1.24 seconds slower than the world record he set when winning gold at the London 2012 Olympics.
“I am truly humbled. I am honoured. Lots of appreciation. Thank you very much guys. I am really excited. I am super happy to defend 800m title, thank everyone for your support,” Xinhua quoted Rudisha as saying after his win.
Almost 48 years since his father Daniel Rudisha won silver for Kenya at the Mexico Olympics in 1968, David has seen his fame rise and now he has completed his legacy as the greatest ever 800m runner of his generation.
Emerging from a difficult time with the knee injury he suffered after 2012, which saw him miss out to defend his world title at the Moscow World Championships in 2013, requiring a serious knee operation Rudisha has been running for less than two years.
Yet his victory was not preordained if his performance coming to the Rio Olympics was anything to go by.
Rudisha’s critics can now look away as he has gone through the complete cycle from his lowest moment, when he finished last at the Diamond League meeting in 2013 on return from injury to an Olympic gold medalist in Rio.
“I dedicate this win to all my fans all over the world and above all to my country — Kenya. To all those who woke up at 4:00 a.m. to watch the race and for all your steadfast support throughout the years,” said Rudisha.
Rudisha, 27, has now cast his eyes on Tokyo 2020. But that can wait. He eclipses his predecessors Paul Ereng (1988), William Tanui (2002) and Wilfred Bungei (2008) who won gold for Kenya at the Olympic Games.