Double Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha of Kenya will skip the entire Diamond League season as he nurses a hamstring injury, which has kept him out of competition since July 2017.
The 29-year-old has been out of action since July 4 last year. He was expected to return to competition in the Shanghai Diamond League meeting in China on May 12, but pulled out after he failed to recover from his injury.
Several visits to the doctors in Kenya and the Netherlands have yielded little success.
Rudisha’s manager Michel Boeting has lifted the lead on the world 800m record holder, saying he does not expect him to compete until August.
That will leave him with little competition save for the Africa Athletics Championships in Asaba, Nigeria to be held on Aug. 1-5.
“Rudisha is currently dealing with an injury to his upper hamstring muscle. It stems from 2016, when Rudisha won Olympic gold in Rio, but it went undiagnosed for a long time and because he was constantly training, it did not have time to heal properly,” said Boeting.
Rudisha, the only man to have run under one minute and 41 seconds, recently returned home from Netherlands where he had gone to seek specialized medical treatment.
“It feels good to be back home,” said Rudisha. “The focus will be on getting better and returning to the training tracks.”
Boeting believes the long layoff will finally help the 800m legend return to his best form and run at the top level.
“Rudisha has finally taken the time to let the injury heal, and hopes to return to training in June. It is uncertain whether he will race this year, but if he does it would likely not be until August,” he said.
And unless he is granted the wild card by Kenyan selectors, Rudisha will certainly miss the Africa Championships as the trials for the competition will be in July.
However, the Kenyan has not given up hope of returning to action and does not entertain the thought of retiring from the sport having already won everything that there is.
Rudisha believes he still has the energy to go the extra mile and he is even dreaming of winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Boeting said there is one thing that still motivates him: “If you want to see his eyes light up, mention Tokyo,” Boeting said.
The 800m is traditionally a young man’s event, and no one has ever won three Olympic gold.
If Rudisha could pull that off in Tokyo, when he would be 31 years old, it would rank among the greatest feats in the history of athletics.
However, Kenya has a horde of young upcoming 800m runners, who Rudisha will find hard to push away as he returns to action.
Three of the top names have already shown potential ruling the global stage. They are Daniel Saruni, Emmanuel Korir and Commonwealth Games champion Wycliffe Kinyamal.
But Rudisha, who is nicknamed Lion in his native Maasai community, might just surprise them all when he is back to his best form and go on to clinch that third gold, which will make him a true legend and a run at the hall of fame.
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