NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Olympic gold medalist David Rudisha has pulled out of the 800 meters at next month’s world championships because of a knee injury, his coach said Tuesday.
His withdrawal robs the year’s top track meet of another star attraction, with sprinter Tyson Gay already skipping the event after a positive doping test.
Rudisha’s coach, Colm O’Connell, told The Associated Press that the world-record holder missed six weeks of training and received treatment in Germany. They determined he wouldn’t be ready to defend his world title in Moscow.
“Finally we have made the decision,” O’Connell said in a phone interview. “We held back for long hoping for improvement, and he has improved quite a lot. But we didn’t want to do a crash course between now and the world championships, which may aggravate the injury since he has been out of training.”
O’Connell said the 24-year-old Kenyan, who left one of the lasting memories of the 2012 London Olympics when he won gold in world-record time, first felt pain in his knee at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York in May. That led him to skip the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., the next week.
O’Connell said the injury may have occurred a few weeks before New York when Rudisha was running on rough ground in Kenya, where he trains in the high-altitude regions of Eldoret and Iten. Rudisha had hoped to recover in time for worlds, which take place Aug. 10-18.
“Doctors (in Germany) said it may take three weeks for him to recover and we thought he would have seven weeks of training,” O’Connell said. “But it has been longer. That’s why we have decided to make the announcement.”
Rudisha was one of the athletes that governing body IAAF would have desperately wanted to star at worlds once Gay, a former world champion, said this weekend he would not compete in the Russian capital after he tested positive for a banned substance.
AP Sports Writer Gerald Imray in Johannesburg contributed to this report.