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Page last updated at 14:15 GMT, Sunday, 22 August 2010 15:15 UK

David Rudisha breaks 800m world record

David Rudisha
Rudisha was only a semi-finallist at last year's World Championships

Kenya's David Rudisha broke the men's 800m world record in a time of one minute 41.09 seconds at an IAAF World Challenge meeting in Berlin on Sunday.

The previous record of 1:41.11 was set by Denmark's Kenyan-born Wilson Kipketer in Cologne in 1997.

With the help of a pacesetter, Rudisha hit the 400m mark in 48.65sec and he maintained his pace to the finish.

"I feel great but I am also dreaming of becoming the first to run under 1:41," the 21-year-old told BBC World Service.

"I have been running fast and I now have the world record but I have not won any major championships yet.

"It is time to focus on that now and to win a medal at the 2011 World Championships. And then I want to be the Olympic champion. That is my focus from now on."

Rudisha only managed to reach the semi-finals of last year's World Championships in the same venue - the German capital's Olympic Stadium.

"I was very disappointed last year, but the weather was so cold then," explained the 2006 world junior champion.

However, at a meet in the Belgian city of Heusden-Zolder in July, the reigning African champion over the distance clocked 1:41.51 - the closest anyone had got to Kipketer's record.

It was 13 years ago that Kipketer first tied with and then twice bettered Briton Sebastian Coe's 1:41.73 world-best time, which was set in 1981.

"This was my first real attempt to break the world record, I knew I was good, I had trained hard," added Rudisha, whose father Daniel won silver for Kenya in the 4x400m at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.


"I knew that I would be fast and that I am in good shape. I was just hoping the weather would be good. It was a bit windy but otherwise it was perfect."

Two other Kenyans, Boaz Kiplagat Lalang and Abraham Kiplagat, were more than three seconds back in second and third respectively.

Caster Semenya, meanwhile, cruised to victory in the women's 800m race.

In the same arena a year ago, the South African claimed the world title over the distance before missing 11 months of competition while undergoing gender tests.

The 19-year-old, running her third race since returning to competitive action in July, timed 1:59.90 to advance her ambitions of competing for her country at October's Commonwealth Games in India.

"It feels good to be back in Berlin," said Semenya. "I did not think about everything that happened after my gold medal, I just concentrated on my race and time.

"My goal was to run under two minutes and I did. After my training I was a little disappointed with my competition results this year, but now I am happy because I can see the progress.

"My next competition will be in Brussels [next Friday] and then I am looking forward to the Commonwealth Games."

Kenyan Cherono Koech was second, Elisa Piccione took third while Britain's Jemma Simpson was fourth in a time of 2:00.57.

Britain's Andy Turner and William Sharman came second and third respectively in a 110m hurdles race won by American Ryan Wilson in 13.27.

see also
Semenya wins on return to action
15 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Athlete Semenya free to compete
06 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Semenya told to take gender test
19 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Kipketer retires from athletics
17 Aug 05 |  Athletics
Kipketer to retire in 2006
08 Apr 05 |  Athletics
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics

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