Tata Steel Kolkata 25K - 18th December 2022

Basking in the aftermath of his scintillating 800m run at the London Olympics that shocked the athletics world and set a new world record, David Rudisha is a much sought after personality the world over. However, the genial 23-year-old star said he opted to come to the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon because he sincerely believed that his visit here could inspire youngsters to strive hard for glory.

Speaking to media persons at the ADHM media center at the J N Stadium, Rudisha said he was impressed by the wonderful stadium and its facilities and so no reason why Indians could not emerge on the biggest stage, considering that athletes from much poorer African and other countries have managed to do so.

“It’s mass-participation high profile events like this that help generate interest in sport and one just cannot say when a real talent will be found,” said Rudisha.

He had words of advice for Indian athletics and said, “it’s not impossible for Indians to do well in world athletics. They just need the right facilities and a good coach. A right coach can do half the job of an athlete.” While speaking on the prospects of our Indian elite track and road athletes, David stressed that they should work hard to try and improve their pace on the track.

Conversation veered to his world record run at the Olympics and Rudisha said that was the most wonderful moment of his entire life. “I went to London to just win the gold medal. I was a world record holder, set at the 2011 World IAAF Championships, and only the Olympic medal was missing. I told my manager James during the warm-ups that if I finish first 400m in 49 secs, I can push in the last 400 to finish the race in 1:41mins,” Rudisha stated and added, “But I didn’t know whether I can set the world record.â

Rudisha belongs to a country that has produced many great athletes, but he still received a huge welcome at Nairobi airport after winning the 2011 IAAF World Championships. A slow possession of 50 cattle escorted the new star in Nairobi. Rudisha was overwhelmed with this love and respect from his countrymen.

I m from the Masai community, which hasn’t produced enough international level athletes. Most of the athletes come from high altitude. So the welcome was very special for me,” said Rudisha. “In our community, 22-year-old men are considered as warriors. So they say that I kill a lion by breaking the world record,” Rushida added.

Like Usain Bolt, Rushida is also fond of cricket. He believes that the game is popular and infrastructural boost will improve the performance of their cricket team. About today’s ICC World T20 match between India and Australia, he predicted: “India will win. I am big fan of Indian team. They will surely beat Australia.