Olympic and World 800m record-holder David Rudihsa says he has overcome his mental challenges, injuries, partying and a near-fatal accident and is fully focused on making the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The 31-year-old Kenyan runner is burning the calories as he seeks to shed off 14 kilograms to return to his optimal weight of 75kg ahead of the country’s trials to select the team to the Olympics.
It will not be the first time Rudisha has made it against the odds to return to the top of the sport.
After making history to win the 2012 Olympic gold in a world record time of 1:40.91, Rudisha missed the 2013 World Championships in Moscow as he underwent a series of serious knee operations. He silenced his critics when he stood firm to defend his Olympic title in Rio Games in 2016.
“I still feel like there is still something in me. Something to show the world that I am not done. I have not exhausted everything,” Rudisha said on Tuesday.
“There is something left in the tank and that is what I want to exhaust before I think of doing other things,” he added.
“A month ago I was heavier, weighing 89kg. But now I am losing the weight and the response is pretty good. I am at 80kg and the target is 75kg, because it is the weight I had when I won in London in 2012,” he added.
But unlike four years ago, when the desire to defend his title burned deep and strong, Rudisha says he will take things slowly, one step at a time. This is after the impact of three years of back-to-back injuries drew the juice out of him.
“I am human and not a machine. For now, I don’t want to push too hard. I want to peak at the right time and hopefully make the Olympic games. Then we will start planning for Tokyo performances,” he added.
“Injury has robbed me of my best years, but I am looking forward.”
However, he loathes cheating and, despite Kenya having some of their top names caught in doping scandals, truly believes in running clean.
“Cheating is wrong. I won’t do it and anyone doing it knows it is not right,” he said.
Former World 3,000m steeplechase champion Milcah Chemos said hard work and discipline is the way to go.
“When you dope it doesn’t just hurt you, it hurts your team and it hurts the other competitors but most importantly it brings shame on the country you represent,” said Chemos.