Olympic champion Rudisha shakes off injury, looks ahead to Tokyo

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Having an extra year to prepare, gain fitness and polish his speed is a reason for world 800m record holder David Rudisha to be thankful for the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

At 30, and with a lack of competitive racing over the previous three years, nobody would give Rudisha the edge he has always carried going into the 2020 Tokyo Games. But "thanks to God", Rudisha said, the Games have been pushed back to 2021.

However, not even the COVID-19 outbreak and a lack of competition have dimmed Rudisha's desire to return and defend his Olympic title in Tokyo.

"What inspires me is the idea of returning to the running circuit, being there to defend my title in Tokyo," Rudisha said from his training base in Ngong, Nairobi.

After shaking off injuries which have dogged him since 2017, Rudisha is on the path to return to competition.

He hopes to resume full training when the Kenyan government lifts its ban on training camps, as he wants to become the first man to win three consecutive Olympic 800m titles.

"I always fight whatever challenges I get, on the track, in work and in life. That is why I was expecting this year to be my year of a big comeback," said Rudisha.

But the global cancelation of sport has taken the wind out of Rudisha's sails. Now he stays with his family and hopes to return stronger and pursue his solo dream, being the first man to win three Olympic titles in a 800m event.

"I want to live up to my name," he said referring to his surname Rudisha, which translates as "return" in Swahili.

"The cancelation is a blessing in disguise. Now I have time for my family and not to push so hard my body to be fit for the Kenya national trials," he added.

Rudisha currently trains in the morning and then has the rest of the day to relax with family.

Rudisha's agent Mitchel Boeting believes his man will be ready for the 2021 season.

"His injury healed and reoccurred and then healed again. He will be late for this season and I think he will be back next season. We expect that all will be well for him," said Boeting.

Rudisha suffered a knee injury in 2013 and returned to win silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, and then won his second world title in 2015 in Beijing, China before bagging his second Olympic gold medal in 2016.

Rudisha had previously won 800m gold at the 2012 Olympic Games, clocking 1:40.91 to become the first athlete in history to dip under the 1:41 barrier.

Only time will tell if the king of the 800m will return to lay claim to his throne at the Tokyo Olympics. 

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