After David Oliver, Blanka Vlasic and Andreas Thorkildsen, World record holder David Rudisha of Kenya was yet another outstanding pre-event favourite who lived up to the fans’ expectations with a superb showing to win the men’s 800m at today’s IAAF / VTB Bank Continental Cup here in Split.
After lowering the World record twice in the last fortnight, Rudisha declared he would adopt a front running tactic in absence of pace makers and treat the crowd to a performance they would remember. Rudisha is a man who can be trusted.
Following a 24.29 200m split, Rudisha reached the bell in 50.84 behind World record pace but with the Competition record still in sight. With no one able to challenge his superior pace, Rudisha worked hard to reach 600m in 1:16.77.
As the crowd was still on its feet from clapping on Blanka Vlasic’s winning clearance at 2.05m, Rudisha sprinted away in the final 100m to clock 1:43.37, a new Competition record and impressively his ninth performance under 1:43.5 this summer!
“It was very nice, I felt excellent,” he said. “I went fast from the beginning, I knew I had to lead to avoid a slow race and I did it. It was a long season and I'm looking forward to going home.
“I'm sure my family will throw me a big party, I think I deserve it. The crowd was fantastic, they're cheering all the time, it feels special to run in such an atmosphere.”
There wasn’t much left to say in a race where the only one who dared follow Rudisha’s early pace albeit some three-four metres behind, Americas’ Kleberson Davide eventually paid the hard price for his brave early race effort.
Still in second with 120 metres to go the Brazilian had nothing left and could not respond to the fast finishing trio of Marcin Lewandowski, Belal Mansoor Ali and Nick Simmonds who all finished within two tenths of a second.
The Polish European champion, Lewandowski grabbed precious points in second at 1:44.81 ahead of Ali who grabbed 6 points for Team Asia/Pacific at 1:44.92 and Keberson holding off team-mate Symmonds 1:44.96 to 1:44.98.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF