David Rudisha on pace to be back on track after injury
The 800 metre Olympic champion and his Irish coach are plotting a comeback
“Well, it was very difficult, and disappointing, to miss a major championship like Moscow,” says Rudisha, “and especially when you are the defending champion. And I had prepared very well to be ready for Moscow. Everything was well, I started my season very well (running 1:43.87, in Doha), but just then I got this problem, with my knee. But as an athlete, you just have to take these things as they come, be patient, because anything can happen in sport.
“I think also that the last four years have been at a very, very high level, very high quality, and sometimes the body will say, ‘okay, now I am tired’, or ‘I need some rest’. And I do think it was good to get some rest, so when I start again, I will be very fresh, to move on.
“Sometimes it’s difficult, with any injury, to know how soon it will heal completely, and how it will respond after. But the way things are looking, now, everything should be okay, and we will be able to resume the training quite soon. But I am very positive about the next few years. I really believe I can get back there. Even this year I was thinking about doing better, maybe even improving my time. So I believe, when I get back, I can do even better, am expecting some more improvement . . . ”
Brother O’Connell agrees on both counts – although his task is a little different from last year, instead of trying to bring Rudisha back down to earth after London, he must start bringing him back up.
“Well I never left the ground too far,” he says. “I wasn’t even in London. But part of a coach’s job is to keep his athletes on the ground, if they go too high. Or to bring them up, if they go too low. I certainly appreciated London, and all the highs and recognition, but my job is to keep it an athlete on the level. If anything my role has reversed now, because I must get David’s spirits up again, off the ground.
“He had some injuries before, in 2008, as a young athlete, missing the Beijing Olympics, also a little injury in 2011, and he got over that. But it’s not just the physical implications. Also getting the mind back on track can be difficult. That will be a test, is never easy. Of course, if this happened 12 months earlier, it would have been a catastrophe. So at least he got injured in the right year.”
The purpose of their visit to Galway is two-fold: to help motivate and inspire schoolchildren, and to help promote the Kenyan Association in Galway, who first dreamed up the idea of bringing them to the west.
Rudisha will be on hand at the Galway-Kenya charity run, at the Regional Sports Centre, Dangan, where members of the public have an opportunity to run, walk (or crawl) a timed 800m, going off every 10 minutes, from 1pm to 3.30pm tomorrow, with Rudisha then starting a celebrity 800m at 4.20pm. For full details see www.galwaykenyarun.com