Capital FM (Nairobi)

10 August 2012

Kenya: From Mombasa to Twitter, Kenyans Hail King David

Nairobi — From Mombasa to Kisumu, Kenyans fell over themselves to rejoice David Rudisha's lightning record breaking performance at London 2012 on Wednesday night as a country that was hitherto suffering from Olympics gloom woke up to hangover of delirium.

In pubs where thousands congregated to watch him blast to history in 1:40.91 especially in the capital Nairobi, Kenyans erupted when he pulled away to set a new standard in men 800m running and win their nation a second gold at the 30th Olympiad.

Rudisha was the talk of town on Thursday in offices as well at social networks with Kenyans on Twitter (KON) setting up the #RudishaFacts hash tag that trended throughout the morning after.

"I have waited for this moment for a long time," a jubilant Rudisha, who ran in similar fashion when winning the World title in Daegu last summer told IAAF.

"To come here and get a World record is unbelievable. I had no doubt about winning. The weather was beautiful - so I decided to go for it."

Starting with a jaw-dropping 23.4 opening 200 metres, Rudisha brought the field through the midway point in 49.28.

Casting a long shadow, Rudisha entered the back straight a second time with a two-metre lead, one he extended down the backstretch before crossing the 600-metre point in 1:14.30, 0.29 faster than in his previous record run in Rieti before ripping apart his 1:41.01 previous standard.

Speaking to Capital Sport from Iten, his equally thrilled coach Brother Colm O'Connell however, called for a cap on the excitement to provide his charge with a chance to further his legend in the future.

"We went there to do one job and actually did two. The target was to target the Olympics record (1:42.58) but we had discussed in the weeks before the game that if the conditions were right, he could go for it.

"We had an idea he was capable of doing it but what happened last night was staggering. First, he ran from Lane 4 and got to 400m at 49.28, which was slower than Rieti and he made it up in the last lap that was simply amazing," the veteran tactician who came to Kenyan from Ireland some 37 years ago explained.

"However, I feel he faces a tougher test than the Olympics final because the whole country wants a piece of him. His fellow Maasai people, the Kenya Police, politicians, companies and others.

"He would like the situation doesn't get out of control but I'm afraid he may have no say and I hope he comes through it safely and focused for the seasons ahead. This could be worse pressure than the 800m final," he added.

"It has been a tough nine months for him he needs a bit of space and time for his family but I know David has enough character to pick himself. He looked the part in the Stadium with the crowd chanting his name and I hope Kenyans appreciate him for the spirit he has shown to the people."

Monstrous celebrations starting in Nairobi where he was feted by his Police colleagues before he flew to his native Ol Tanki Village in Transmara where he was elevated to a High Moran ensured after his record breaking exploits in 2010.

At the ceremony, more than 50 bulls and 100 bags of rice were devoured by a mammoth crowd that included Vice-President, Kalonzo Musyoka and retired Head of State, Daniel arap Moi.

Last year, he went underground after a similar or even bigger reception was organised after he won his maiden world title as his management opted to give him time to launch what has been a successful assault at the Olympics having missed Beijing four years ago.

"We did not do anything foolish to give him stress from the pressure and although it shocked many, to us it was not a huge surprise but nonetheless, did we ever think we would see the day someone would run the 800m in 1:40?

"I talked to him this morning and he said he was in great shape to go for it and he has redeemed our image at the Olympics and we can look forward to a few more medals," Bro Colm expressed.

"Besides the talent, discipline and majestic flame he posses, David is one in a million, a great character that has a special personality," the tactician who also handled his predecessor as world record holder, Kenyan born Dane Wilson Kipketer paid tribute.

One of the first to comment on the magnitude of Rudisha's achievement and offer congratulations was LOCOG Chairman Sebastian Coe, himself a former 800m World record holder.

"That was simply an unbelievable performance," said Coe, also an IAAF Vice President.

"David Rudisha showed supreme physical and mental confidence to run like that in an Olympic final. Instead of just doing enough to win the race he wanted to do something extraordinary and go for the World Record as well. Rudisha's run will go down in history as one of the greatest Olympic victories. I feel privileged to have witnessed it in London."

For his part, Rudisha was proud to oblige.

"Lord Coe is a good friend of mine. I came here in February and he took me around the stadium. I wanted to come here and make him proud."

Proud too was his wife Lizzie, a guest courtesy of the IAAF, among the first to congratulate her husband on the track. They have a daughter Charlene.

His was the first 800m World record set at an Olympic Games since Alberto Juantorena in 1976.

Although the Rudisha camp was non-committal, there is belief that he will attack his new record in Germany later this month.

Here are some of the best offerings from KON on their idol in the hash tag that trended worldwide.

Arnaud Malherbe @Arnaud400- Doomsday didn't kill Superman. He died trying to beat Rudisha... #RudishaFacts

Imaginateer @Imaginateer- If Einstein had seen Rudisha run he would have realised somethings can break the speed of light #RudishaFacts

Sabela @yukisookie- #RudishaFacts The new Athletics Kenya slogan " The Runner in front of you... is always KENYAN"

91.5 Hits @915hits- #RudishaFacts CNN had to resort to using photos to break his story. The Slo-Mo footage was still too fast for their viewers.

G.M.G @geogwa- No India, remove the medal from your medal table, he's Rudisha, not Rudi Shah #Rudishafacts @Wanjizzle #dead" >> welcome back!!"

Mr. Anonymous @sharehollder- #RudishaFacts fast and the furious movies will be now know as Rudisha

Davy @gothrockstar80- #RudishaFacts CNN are still trying to figure out how to break Rudisha's story. He came in too fast!!

Karanja Earl Simmons @Earlsimxx- #RudishaFacts Rudisha went to consult Bolt for speed therapy, Bolt said "sorry, me nat de ma go so fast"

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