EXCLUSIVE: Double Olympic champ David Rudisha reveals future plans
Double Olympic champion David Rudisha is not done with athletics yet.
The 800m world record holder and two-time world champ has been been out of competition for over a year with injury.
Now on the comeback trail, the Kenyan spoke exclusively to Olympic Channel about his rehabilitation, as well as his ambition to win the 2019 World Championships in September and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
"I think I can still do a lot because I'm young, I'm still feeling energetic, there's still a big room for improvement."
Olympic Channel: How's your injury? Has it healed completely?
David Rudisha: I've been really disappointed with the problem with injury for quite some time now. At some point, no matter what you do you, you have these issues with injuries. But we are trying to work hard to see how we can fix this problem before the season starts and I am happy because I'm seeing the response I'm looking for.
The first problem I had was with my knee. I had a problem with my right knee which led to a problem with the sitting bone.
Normally when you are training your leg tries to balance. When you have a problem with one leg, it tries to transfer that problem to the other because you're putting too much pressure on the injured leg. So we found that the other side is more prone to this kind of injury.
I'm just trying to make things happen, trying to do a lot of gym work, exercising flexibility, to see that the recovery of the muscle is okay and well-balanced. Previously I didn't know exactly what was the problem, but now I know exactly the point and where the problem is and it's much much easier for me to deal with it.
OC: Have you started training?
DR: Yes, I've started doing some training. Not yet training back on the track, but I'm still doing some loading on the road.
OC: What will your first race of the season be?
DR: I can't tell you right now because I'm just in the process of preparing myself.
Around April is when I'll know where my form is and which race I will compete in and which race I will not compete in.
In 2010, the then-21-year-old announced himself to the world by setting a new 800m world record with a time of 1:41:09 at the ISTAF meeting in Berlin.
A week later at the Rieti Diamond League event, he lowered the record to 1:41:01 and became the youngest-ever person to win the prestigious IAAF World Athlete of the Year award.
The following season he claimed his first world title in Daegu, South Korea, before winning his first Olympic title at London 2012 a year later.
It's not hard to see why the nickname 'King Rudisha' sprung up in this period.
His time of 1:40.91 still stands as the record today, and he remains the only athlete to have broken the 1:41 barrier over 800m.
Unrivalled Rudisha sets 800m world record | London 2012 Replays
Unrivalled Rudisha sets 800m world record | London 2012 ReplaysKenyan David Lekuta Rudisha sets a new world record as he destroys the field to win 800m gold at the Olympic Games London 2012.
OC: How often do you think about London 2012?
DR: London Olympics in 2012 was one of the special memorable moments of my life. Sometimes I like even the way I can describe that race but I can say I did prepare for that competition for a very long time and I was lucky that I didn't have any problem, no injuries, zero. and I was physically fit, mentally prepared.
It was tough because I had a lot of expectation right from home. The family, the whole country, they expected me to win because I was at the top that time, I was already the world record holder, I was the world champion, so no-one was expecting nothing less than a gold medal but I knew that winning wasn't easy because any opponent, any rival standing on the line is equal and anybody can win a race anytime.
Anything can happen in any competition. I was crossing my fingers and I was praying that everything goes well.
I think I was also very determined to do something special, that's what made me push in that race and finally it was a world record.
Sometimes whenever I go back and watch London it motivates me. It encourages me.
Although, I know that kind of achievement can happen only once in a lifetime. It's not something that you can keep on repeating every day.
OC: So we shouldn't expect you be break any records anytime soon?
DR: I already have the three fastest times, three world records.
The most important thing right now is for me to upgrade and build my profile by winning more medals, because the world record, I already have it. I broke it once, two, three times. I think that is a great achievement for any athlete of my calibre.
The world record I think it's the toughest, because I can say every two years we will have a world champion, after every four years we will have a Olympic champion. But it can take a day or even half a second to have another world record holder. It's like there's no time limit for someone to break the world record.
The reason I'm saying it's special because it can stay there for ages.
OC: Two Olympic titles, two world titles. What more remains for David Rudisha?
DR: I don't think that there is another thing that I'd be able to do, that I haven't done already. Now it is just about repeating it.
Because if it's even is the world title like I've had, even if it's the Olympics — which is one of the top events in the world — I've already won it not once, but twice.
So if I win another medal in the World Championships or in the Olympics, it's not going to be a surprise to people and to the fans because they know, 'He was already an Olympic champion'.
So I'm just looking forward just to adding to that profile, for it to be even more colourful.
I know it's not easy, nothing is guaranteed, but I'm just doing my best and I want to give my best.
OC: Have you thought about the upcoming World Championships in Doha this year as well as Tokyo 2020?
DR: Yes, these are the two events that I'm really focusing on and I'm looking forward to taking part in these two major competitions before I decide to retire.
OC: Are we talking about retirement already?
DR: After 2020! Because I'm not going to graduate and move to the marathon or any other race.
Because the 800m, it is very tough to stay this long in one event. Any athlete will tell you that. It's not easy.
OC: What would you do after retiring?
DR: Being a sportsman is one of the most challenging careers because at a very young age at some time you have just to stop and focus...
The most important thing after retirement is to go back and take care of the family. My kids really miss me because most of the time I'm out there training, travelling out of the country and so forth. So the first thing is to go back and take care of them.
Of course I don't have any intentions of getting out of the sport. Anything associated to sport, if time will allow, I would be glad to join so I want to stay in the family.