Kenya's Rudisha rewarded for his Olympics victory

Nairobi, Jan 23 (IANS) The curtains came down on a rewarding 2012 season for David Rudisha when he proudly stepped up to receive from Kenya's president Mwai Kibaki a cheque for minting Olympics gold.

During the state function Tuesday, the president fittingly led the adulation for the runner who pushed the limits of his race to hitherto uncharted waters during that epic London Olympics 800 metres final when he led seven of the eight finalists to run their personal bests, reports Xinhua.

"It feels good and I'm very grateful to come here courtesy of President Mwai Kibaki after going to London and performing there and it is an honour to come here and be recognised for that effort," the 1:40.91 standard bearer over two-laps stated at the lush lawns of Nairobi's State House.

His gold medal earned him a cheque of $8,620 from his country's government, a figure far below what he makes on the international circuit, but nonetheless poignant in a nation that for decades has had no formal structure to reward her excelling sporting talent.

"I would like to congratulate him for the two terms he has headed this country. Since he took over, we have seen many good things happen in our sport, including the Sports Act that will favour us."

"We wish him a good retirement when he goes home. For me, I have been honoured, he likes me a lot since he is a good sportsman," the world titleholder said in glowing terms for Kibaki, who is scheduled to step down from power in March.

Rudisha's moment at the seat of the country's power symbolically ushered in his 2013 campaign where his main target is to defend the world title he won in South Korea in 2011.

"This is also another important year and I'm looking forward to the Moscow World Championships. I have kicked off my training so far and I'm doing well and I hope by the time the championships come, I will be ready."

With the pressure of surpassing his achievement in London where he became the first male 800m runner to dip under 1:41 ahead of the new season very much alive, the record holder remained guarded.

"Sometimes, it is difficult for someone to maintain such a high standard. People normally expect that if you are a world record holder or you have ran that fast, they want you to repeat the same everywhere you appear. This is not possible because I'm a human being and I use blood. I'm working hard to ensure that at least, I'm somewhere there to defend the title and to do the best I can."

His preparations for the forthcoming season are yet to take shape as he plots on yet another campaign he hopes will cement his already rich legacy.

"It will all depend on the training I put in. The most important thing is how long I will maintain my shape and my career since I want to be here for many years to come."

"I'm still discussing with my coach to see how best to preserve my energy after producing many fast times. I'm looking forward to give myself enough rest since last year, most of my races of high quality and I don't want to burn out."

Being among an exciting crop of talented youngsters in 800m, the 24-year-old is focussing to do what he can to be at his peak.

"You cannot influence the training or performance for anyone else. I want to do what is best for me to be in good shape and the rest, I don't mind because it will take care of itself. From 2010, I have been doing many races and these have taken a lot of effort so the thing now is to maintain myself."

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