David Rudisha, Kenya's 800 metres world champion and world record holder, will kick off his 2012 season in two meetings in Sydney and Melbourne over the next month, Athletics Australia said on Tuesday.
After claiming the world title with an impressive display of front-running in South Korea last August, the 23-year-old will be a strong favourite to claim his first Olympic gold in London on Aug. 9.
Rudisha, who will run the 400 metres at the Sydney Track Classic on Feb. 18 and step up to the two-lap race in Melbourne on March 2-3, said he was looking forward to commencing his season Down Under, as he has for the last two years.
"The people are friendly, the meets are good and it works as a very good start to my year," he said in a news release.
"This year we of course have the Olympic Games and that is the big focus for all athletes but I want to run well throughout the year."
Rudisha, who set his 800m world record time of one minute 41.01 seconds in Italy in 2010, said running the 400m in Sydney could lead to a bid to run in the relay in London.
"My personal best in the 400m is still from when I ran in Sydney two years ago, so I'm hoping that I can maybe lower that time," he added.
"People have asked me if I will run on our 4x400 relay team, at the moment all I can say is that anything is possible but the focus for me is the 800. Having won the world championships I of course want to add that Olympic title."
(For the sports blog Left Field go to: http://blogs.reuters.com/sport))
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