‘David Rudisha told us to expect fast London race’

Monday, May 4th, 2020 00:00 |
Gold medallist Nijel Amos (centre), silver winner David Rudisha (left) and bronze medallist South Africa’s Andre Olivier on the podium during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. BELOW: Amos beats Rudisha at the event. Photo/PD/FILE

David Rudisha told his rivals to expect an extremely fast race on his way to breaking the 800m world record at the 2012 London Olympics.

In what was the fastest ever 800m race in history, Rudisha became the first and only person to ever run under 1:41 for the event, after clocking 1:40.91.

Rudisha led and pulled away from the rest of the field after 200m, completing the first lap in 49.28 seconds.

Now, Botswana’s Nijel Amos, who finished second in 1:41.73, a new World Junior Record behind the new World Record set by Rudisha, says ‘King David’ had warned them before hand.

“It was a special race. Rudisha came and told us it was going to be a fast race. He said; ‘I’m going to go so you do your best’.

It was my first time with Rudisha and it was special,” Amos, who won his country’s first Olympics medal then, told K24 TV’s Wanjiku Mwenda in an interview via Skype on Saturday. 

And as fate would have it, both athletes were not on the podium at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Russia after suffering injuries that year and Amos attributes this to overworking the year before. 

“We stretched our bodies to the limits never seen before. That meant we needed a lot of time to recover,” said Amos.

The two athletes would recover just in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland where Amos handed Rudisha his first defeat, something the Tswana says he saw it coming.

“I had missed the World Championships the previous year so my coach told me to go for it. I knew it was going to happen because I had prepared well,” added the athlete who clocked 1:45:18 in the Scottish city.   

However, that was the last time Amos had one over Rudisha as the Kenyan went on to claim the 2015 world title before defending his Olympics title in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

While Rudisha was winning, Amos was nursing more injuries, having been forced out of the two competitions midway.

With that in mind, Amos was perhaps one of the athletes who felt bad when the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus as he was ready to go this year.

“I have a chance to go for the Olympics next year. The other thing is that from 2021, there will be championships every year, (back-to-back Worlds in Oregon and Budapest and 2024 Olympics) which is exciting. It changes the whole process of preparation,” the US-based athlete said. 

Amos, who finished fifth at the 2017 World Championships in London, also had a brief stint training in Kenya that year, perhaps keen to steal a secret or two from the country. 

“My manager also manages some Kenyan athletes so we are like brothers and I wanted to experience it in Kenya. It was great in Kaptagat.

It was quiet, no cell phones, you just focus on training and grow as a person and athlete,” he remembers about his Kenyan experience, adding: “The problem was that everywhere I went, it was hilly.

I never found a place that was not hilly and that is why I said maybe this is not for me.”

But while he did not like the running experience in Kenya, one thing struck him. “The tea. Kenyan tea is great. I could not get enough. Every time I was like nataka chai (I wan tea),” said Amos. 

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