Kenyan star faces long spell on the sidelines

Kenya’s double 800m Olympic champion David Rudisha is set to be sidelined for at least four months after undergoing ankle surgery
Gold medallist Kenya’s David Lekuta Rudisha celebrates on the podium for the Men’s 800 meter during the athletics at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 16, 2016. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP)

Kenya’s double 800m Olympic champion David Rudisha is expected to be sidelined for at least four months after he underwent successful surgery on his left ankle on Thursday after sustaining a fracture.

The 31-year-old, who has not competed in nearly two years due to knee and back injuries, twisted his ankle last week at his rural home in Kilgoris, Kenya.

“During a walk on the compound the 31-year-old stepped on uneven ground, and initially believed it was not a serious injury,” his manager Michele Boateng said in a press statement.

“He continued with exercises that wouldn’t cause further harm to his ankle but after a lack of improvement over the weekend, he underwent an examination and was diagnosed with an ankle fracture at St. Luke’s hospital in Eldoret.

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“Rudisha, who is attempting to compete at his third Olympic Games next year, is expected to be out of training for 12 to 16 weeks and hopes to resume rehabilitation after that.

“According to his surgeon and Kenyan team doctor, Dr. Victor Bargoria, it was a left ankle fracture (Supination External Rotation) and he fixated it with a third tubular plate and 3.5mm screws,” his manager said on social media.

Before the Covid-19 related disruptions, the world record holder resumed training in December 2019 and had been training hard in order to become the first man to win three consecutive titles at Tokyo 2020. He is one of only four men to win back-back 800m Olympic titles and had been hopeful that he would be fit to defend his title at the now-postponed Tokyo 2020 Games.

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“It’s been very tough handling all these pressures. I want to put everything behind me and start from here, now that the injury is gone and all that is in the past, so that I can improve myself on the track,” he told the Olympic Channel while attending the 2019 World Championships in Doha.

Regarded as the greatest 800-metre athlete of all time, Rudisha smashed the world 800-metre record twice in a span of eight days in 2010. He bettered Kenyan-born Dane Wilson Kipketer’s 13-year record in the two-lap race, posting 1:41.09 in Berlin and a week later in Rieti Italy he clocked 1:41.01.

In the same year, he was as crowned IAAF Athlete of the year for his achievements. At London 2012, Rudisha led from start to finish as he set the world record of 1:40.91.

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Lord Sebastian Coe, IAAF president and two-time Olympic 1,500 metre champion, described the run as “the most extraordinary piece of running I have probably ever seen”.


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