Kaki avoids showdown with rival Rudisha
By James Waindi
World 800m indoor champion and All Africa Games gold medallist Abubaker Kaki once again avoided an head to head confrontation with his arch rival, African champion David Rudisha at the ongoing 17th African Senior Athletics Championships after failing to start the 800m third heat.
Kaki, who is unbeaten over the distance this season, is now likely to represent his country in the 4x400m relays.
In an earlier interview with FeverPitch yesterday, Kaki said he wanted to make up for misfortunes that had dodged him in the last two seasons in major events, by winning a gold medal in Nairobi.
The Sudanese athlete, even played down his intense rivalry with Africa champion David Rudisha and instead said he was focused on winning gold and possibly breaking the 800m world record, but everyone in the stadium was surprised when he failed to turn up for the third 800m heat.
He had appeared to have newfound confidence putting the disappointment of the past two years behind him. In Beijing 2008 he finished eighth in the third semi-final, failing to advance to the finals and during the World Championships in Berlin last year he tripped in the semi-finals.
"I have a lot or respect for Rudisha but I’m not here to beat him. I’m here to win gold and possibly break the 800m record, it is going to be a tough race because good athletes have lined up including world champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi from South Africa and my colleague Ismail Ahmed," said the 21-year old Sudanese track star, who speaks little English in an earlier interview.
Last season, Kaki beat Rudisha in Doha and Hengelo where he ran 1:43.09 and 1:43.10 and he was optimistic of maintaining his dominance over the African champion come tomorrow’s finals, but there are still no clear reports why he failed to start his race.
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"I’m optimistic of breaking the world record one day, I just don’t when it will be but it is very realistic. I know I have to work hard to break the world record and I know it is not easy but I will give it a try," Kaki said.
He said: "I think Rudisha will push the pace this season and maybe he will lead me close to the record. But before then I have to think of improving my time and first of all win gold here."
Rudisha broke the 25-year-old African record during the Africa Championships in 2008.
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