Rudisha focusing on retaining 800 title in Rio
BANGKOK (AP) — David Rudisha has Rio on his mind.
The Kenyan has been battling injuries and a drop in form since winning the 800 meters at the 2012 London Olympics in a world record time of 1 minute, 40.1 seconds.
Next year’s world championships in Beijing and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are Rudisha’s next targets.
“I’m looking forward for Rio now, 2016. That is my main plan,” he said Friday. “But I’m also looking forward to next year, 2015 for the world championships. That’s going to be a stepping stone to prepare for the next 2016 Olympics in Rio.”
Rudisha spoke to reporters in Bangkok after picking up an award from the Association of National Olympic Committees as the best male athlete at the London Games.
“I’ve been going up and down with injury and just coming back,” he said. “I’m really looking forward and seeing how my rehabilitation will go because that is the main thing. But I’m still focused to run a good and fast time.”
Chinese table tennis player Li Xiaoxia, who won the singles gold medal in London, took the award for the top female athlete in London.
Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjorndalen was voted the top male athlete from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, where he won two gold medals to take his career tally to eight.
Dutch speedskater Ireen Wust, who won two gold medals and three silvers in Sochi, was chosen the top female athlete.
In the team awards, Canada’s hockey teams swept the male and female awards for Sochi, while the French men’s handball team and Brazil’s women’s volleyball team were the winners for London.
Bjorndalen, who plans to retire in 2016 when he will be 42, said the ANOC award was a cap to his extraordinary Olympic career that saw him win a record 13 medals.
Bjorndalen, who also serves on the IOC athletes’ commission, said he was disappointed that Oslo dropped out of the bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics after the government refused to give financial backing.
“For sure, all sportsmen in Norway are really disappointed,” Bjorndalen said. “I’m really sorry for that, but there was too much negative around the situation. I hope we can try another time.”
He said the bidding process and decisions on hosting rights should be reviewed for the Winter Olympics to prevent traditional winter sports countries like Norway being beaten out by richer bids.
“It’s different cultures. To make Olympics in Beijing, China, and in Norway is totally different,” Bjorndalen said. “We have a lot of experience about winter competition, and we need different protocols to make Winter Olympics compared to Summer Olympics.”