The cancellation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games in Japan wiped away smile completely from David Lekuta Rudisha, a double 800m Olympic champion and world record holder.
“This is a sad moment for me. The cancellation of the Summer Games was a tough decision and has affected my preparations both physically and mentally in a great way.
“It is sad that I have been training hard and I was almost hitting my top form just a few months before the Olympic Games.
“This is not the kind of news you expect at this time of the year and say its OK. I am still trying to come to terms with this devastating development coming at a time like this. I was expecting this year to be my year of a big comeback,” said Rudisha.
The 32-year-old chief inspector of Police based in Eldoret defended his Olympic title at the 2016 Rio Games in 1:42.15. He again wrote history by becoming the first man to retain the Olympic 800m title in half a century by cruising to victory.
“I was recovering well from injury in time for Tokyo Olympics and it seems this year I will not test my endurance and fitness in the global arena. I was hoping to retain my title with a more blistering pace but coronavirus pandemic has abruptly slammed brakes in my preparations,” he told Nation Sport.
He added: “I feel very sad that I will not defend my Olympic title this year but as fate would have it there is nothing I can do.”
For the better part of this year, Rudisha had been training in Eldoret and Iten but has temporarily shifted base and is now having his daily, light workout at his rural village of Oloibor-soito in Kilgoris, Transmara in Narok County.
“My injury had healed and my medical specialist had given me a clean bill of health. I was almost hitting a 100 percent mark in my training programme. I was building up well before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted my daily workout,” said Rudisha.
He added: “The crisis has put me in an awkward situation. I am fit for now but I don’t know when I will run my next race. I can’t idle around. I must do some training to keep in shape until the season bounces back.”
He said even as he was shaping up for the Tokyo Olympic Games, the suspension of the athletics calendar has completely messed his comeback season.
“I was planning to sit down with my manager Michel Boeting and strategise which races I will compete in this year but this crisis has put on hold our plans,” said Rudisha.
He said he was optimistic that athletics will survive this pandemic and athletes will bounce back to a thriving competitive season.
“As for me the next cause of action is to strictly follow the advice of my medical specialist as I continue to watch my fitness level ahead of next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo,” the world record holder said.
“Athletes are in catch 22 situation. There is no sign of things returning back to normalcy any time soon. Even as they train alone they can’t push their bodies to maximum limit because they don’t know when competition will resume.
However, he commended the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Athletics for suspending the athletics calendar.
“I think that was a wise decision until everything comes back to normal there is no point of risking athletes lives for now,” said Rudisha.
He pointed out that many athletes were yet to come to terms with the effects of the crisis.