BEIJING (Reuters) - Olympic 800 meters champion David Rudisha knows he is not back in the sort of form where he can control races but still thinks he will be battling it out for gold at the world championships next week.
The 26-year-old Kenyan has run six of the eight fastest times ever over two laps, including the world record of one minute 40.91 seconds he clocked to win gold in one of the highlights of the London Olympics.
A severe knee injury robbed him of the chance to defend his world title in Moscow two years ago and subsequent calf problems have left him unable to set the punishing pace that once laid waste to his rivals.
Nijel Amos will go to Beijing as title favorite having beaten Rudisha in six of the seven races in which they have gone head-to-head since the London final, when the Botswanan was taken from the track on a stretcher after winning silver.
“With problems like injury, you have to give it time. Time is everything. Time changes everything,” Rudisha told reporters in Beijing on Thursday.
”I‘m glad that I‘m back and I‘m happy that even without that 100 percent form I’ve been able to compete. And of course, being there and fighting with the guys from the front.
“I‘m not also making them winning easy, I know. And I know I‘m not in my best form. So I know when I’ll get there, I’ll be back. I’ll be able to control races again.”
Rudisha said he had not decided on his tactics for the race but admitted he was considering abandoning his trademark front-running to try and counter Amos’s strong finish.
“All I have to think about is how I‘m going to run that day. I‘m prepared,” he said. “Running from behind, but not really far from the front pack or running from the front, depending on how I feel.”
Regardless of where he finishes next Tuesday, Rudisha said he was confident he could be back in a position to set some seriously good times by the end of the season.
“I feel my form is coming back,” he added.
”Even after the world championships, I‘m looking forward to two races afterwards where I just want to push myself a little bit and see if I can get another fast time.
“Probably not a world record but just get a good fast time, probably chasing the world-leading time.”
That time of 1:42.51 belongs to Bosnian Amel Tuka.
Editing by John O'Brien