Kenyan star David Rudisha returns to Australian tour

David Rudisha at the Nairobi AAC 2010/Photo credit: Yomi Omogbeja

Last year, David Rudisha's campaign to become world champion began in Australia and so the Kenyan superstar is hoping a return visit to Sydney and Melbourne, for the Qantas Australian Athletics Tour, will put him on the path to Olympic glory.

Set to face off with the green and gold’s one lap masters across 400m at the Sydney Track Classic before taking to the start line for the 800m at the Qantas Melbourne Track Classic and Nomination Trial, Rudisha is excited about the prospect of heading Down Under.

Rudisha said: "Australia has been good to me for the past two years in my preparation, so I am happy about returning there again. The people are friendly, the meets are good and it works as a very good start to my year.

"This year we of course have the Olympic Games and that is the big focus for all athletes, but I want to runwell throughout the year.”

Rudisha opened his 2011 season with a blistering 1:43.88 across 800m at the IAAF Melbourne Track Classic and then backed up with 1:44.80 in Sydney two weeks later.

He was unbeaten in Europe leading into the 2011 IAAF world championships. In Daegu (KOREA) he won his heat (1:46.29) and semi-final (1:44.20) in resounding fashion before taking home the gold medal in 1:43.91.

A season best and world lead performance of 1:41.33 closed out his year at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Reiti (ITA).

"My personal best in the 400m is still from when I ran in Sydney two years ago, so I'm hoping that I can maybe lower that time. People have asked me if I will run on our 4x400 relay team, at the moment all I can say is that anything is possible but the focus for me is the 800m. Having won the World Championships I of course want to add that Olympic title.

"I hear the Qantas Melbourne Track Classic is also the Olympic trials for the Australian athletes, so perhaps I can help push their top athletes to some quick times."

Rudisha is the current world 800m champion, a two-time African 800m champion and the winner at three Diamond League events across two-laps. He is, also, the world and African 800m record holder.

IAAF World Athlete of the Year Sally Pearson, 2009 world champion Dani Samuels and Commonwealth champion Fabrice Lapierre will lead the Australian charge against international starters including Stephanie Brown-Trafton (USA, discus), Kara Patterson (USA, javelin), Greg Nixon (USA, 400m) and Valerie Adams (NZL, shot put) in Sydney.

The 2012 Sydney Track Classic will be held at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre on Saturday, February 18 from 6:30pm.

2012 NATIONAL ATHLETICS SERIES (Australian Athletics Tour in bold)

  • Brisbane Athletics Classic - Saturday, January 14 – QSAC, Brisbane.
  • Hunter Track Classic – Saturday, January 21 – Hunter Sports Centre, Newcastle.
  • Adelaide Track Classic – Saturday, January 28 – Santos Stadium, Adelaide.
  • Briggs Athletics Classic – Saturday, February 4 – Domain Athletics Centre, Hobart.
  • Perth Track Classic – Saturday, February 11 – WA Athletics Stadium, Perth.
  • Sydney Track Classic – Saturday, February 18 – SOPAC, Sydney.
  • Qantas Melbourne Track Classic (IAAF World Challenge) – March 2 & 3 – Lakeside Stadium, Melbourne.

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