Nairobi, March 30 (IANS) Olympic 800 metres champion David Rudisha of Kenya has confirmed he will launch his season at the Shanghai Diamond League meeting in China on May 12.
Rudisha, 28, has not raced since he injured his thigh muscle in July last year, which ultimately ruled him out of the London World Championships, reports Xinhua news agency.
The organisers have announced that over 14 world and Olympic champions will join other stars of international track and field for the one-day competition.
“I pledged to come back stronger and even challenge for the title. That journey will start in Shanghai,” he said on Thursday.
There will be plenty of time for Rudisha to make amends and regain his position as the top 800m runner in the world and the pride of Africa.
Rudisha missed out on the 2013 championships before reclaiming his 800m crown five years ago in Beijing.
However, he sat out from London 2015. But he aims to be back competing for the world title again in 2019 in Doha, Qatar.
He is the only person to ever run under one minute 41 seconds for the event when he clocked a world record in the London Olympics of 1:41.90.
Rudisha will hope to make it third time lucky in the men’s 800m after finishing fifth on his Shanghai debut in 2016 and third last year, while fellow Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot begins the defence of his Diamond League trophy in the 1,500m.
“I start my 1,500m Diamond League season in Shanghai and aim to clinch the Diamond Trophy,” said Cheruiyot.
Other reigning Diamond League champions who will be looking for early points include Dalilah Muhammad, the women’s 400m hurdles champion making her first Shanghai appearance since 2015, and Mariya Lasitskene, the world indoor and outdoor high jump champion, who set a Diamond League record of 2.06m in Lausanne last year before winning the trophy in Brussels.
Colombia’s Olympic champion Caterine Ibarguen will be looking for a winning return to Shanghai after she won the women’s triple jump here in 2013 and 2015.
As will Luvo Manyonga, the South African who leapt to a Diamond League and African record of 8.61m last May before going to win the world title.
Manyonga will face China’s newly minted Asian indoor champion, Shi Yuhao, while Sam Kendricks, another of last year’s world and Diamond League champions, takes on the host nation’s World Championship fourth placer, Xue Changrui, in the men’s pole vault.