800m champ Kenyan Rudisha eyes 1,000m race in Ostrava

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Nairobi, April 28 (IANS) Olympic 800 metres champion David Rudisha of Kenya says he has his eyes set on defending his world title in London in August, but he will seek a new experience when he competes in the 1,000m race at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Ostrava, the Czech Republic, on June 28.

Speaking in Nairobi, Rudisha on Thursday said he is excited for the challenge as he steps up his preparation to defend the crown he last won in Beijing in 2015, reports Xinhua news agency.

“I’m excited to try this race. People are always asking me how I would run at 1,500. I always say that’s too far to run against the miler guys! But 1,000m is of course shorter and closer to my racing distance,” he said on.

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Rudisha will start his track competition late and is entered to debut this season at the Shanghai Diamond League on May 13 before heading to Rome on June 8.

Rudisha is one of four Beijing 2015 champions who will look for some early pointers in the Chinese city just three months ahead of his world title defence.

The 800m world record holder (with a time of 1:40.91 minute) made his Shanghai Diamond League debut last May and went on to retain the Olympic title in Rio. This year, the Kenyan will be keen to tap into memories of his astonishing world record victory at the 2012 Olympics to spur him ahead on the road to London 2017.

But organisers of the Golden Spike meeting in the Czech City of Ostrava have convinced him to try the 1,000m distance, and he says he is happy to pick up the gauntlet.

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“I’m really looking forward to my race in Ostrava,” Rudisha said. “It will be my third race of the season but most interestingly for me it’s my first time to run 1000 meters.”

Testing himself in off-distances isn’t anything new for Rudisha, who last season in his run-up to a successful Olympic 800m title defence, broke the African record over 600m at the Birmingham leg of the IAAF Diamond League, clocking 1:13.10.

But going up in distance is uncharted territory for the 28-year-old, who famously broke his own 800m world record in the 2012 Olympic final.

“I have got no time or plan in mind but I’m excited to test myself and see what I can do,” added Rudisha, who will be competing in the Czech city for the fifth time.

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