With the London Olympics a little more than five months away, one Sudanese athlete to watch is Abubaker Kaki, one of the fastest runners in the world at the 800 meter distance.
As part of his build-up for the London Games, the 22-year-old Kaki will travel in March to Turkey, where he will aim for his third consecutive world indoor title over 800 meters.
Kaki competed in the two-lap race at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, but was not able to advance to the final. Another athlete, Ismail Ahmed Ismail, won silver in the event, becoming the first Sudanese to win an Olympic medal in history. It was Sudan’s only medal at the 2008 Olympic Games.
In London, Kaki is expected to renew his rivalry with Kenyan world record holder David Rudisha, who does much of his training in the town of Iten in Kenya’s Rift Valley. Kaki and other top international athletes have traveled to Iten for its high altitude training conditions and with the knowledge the town has helped produce some of the world’s greatest middle and long distance runners.
“Before I’ve trained in different countries,” says Kaki, “like the United States and even Europe sometimes. But this is the first time I’ve come to Iten because 2012 is the Olympic year.”
And in the Olympic year of 2012, Abubaker Kaki would like nothing better than to beat David Rudisha and win Sudan’s first ever Olympic gold medal.