David Lekuta Rudisha set a new world record of one minute 41.09 seconds in the 800 metres on Sunday at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.
His time shaved two hundredths of a second off the previous best mark set by Denmark’s Kenyan-born Wilson Kipketer in August 1997.
The 21-year-old, world junior champion in the same distance in 2006, was led through the first 400m by pacesetter Sammy Tangui in 48.65sec.
Long standing record
Rudisha then managed to keep up his pace through to the line to break Kipketer’s long-standing record, something he had recently been threatening to do so promising has been his form on the track.
At a meet in the Belgian city of Heusden-Zolder in July, Rudisha timed 1:41.51, an African record and the fastest time in the world since Kipketer set the previous best 13 years ago. “I have the ability to improve and go faster,” said Rudisha, 21.
The performance helped Rudisha banish the memories of a poor showing during the World Champions at this venue last year when he went out at the semi-finals stage.
“This was my first real attempt to break the world record, I knew I was good, I had trained hard,” Rushida added after ending Kipketer’s 13-year reign.
Surprise semi final exit
Kipketer had first tied with Briton Sebastian Coe’s 1:41.73 world best time, set in 1981, in July 1997 in Stockholm, but went on to better that a month later in Zurich before setting the bar higher again in Cologne.
Rudisha said the world record made up for his surprise semi-final exit at the same stadium at the world championships last year. “This was the best way to make it right again here,” he said.
The 21-year-old Kenyan retained the African Championships title over the distance last month in the fastest time ever run in his athletics-mad country, proving he was a force to be reckoned with this season.
He is the son of Daniel Rudisha, a member of the 4x400m Olympics silver-winning relay team in Mexico City in 1968. “Now I want to finish top in the Diamond League in my event,” said Rudisha, who leads the 800m standings in the 14-meeting season.