By Drazen Jorgic
ITEN, Kenya (Reuters) - Olympic 800 meters champion and world record-holder David Rudisha will miss the remainder of the season and is unlikely to race again until at least March next year, the Kenyan athlete's coach has said.
Rudisha pulled out of next month's World Championships in Moscow after failing to recover from a knee injury that will prevent him from defending his 800m crown at the August 10-18 event.
His coach, Colm O'Connell said the 2011 Daegu world champion contemplated racing at Diamond League events in Zurich in late August or in Brussels in September but chose against rushing back from injury.
"We considered it but felt it was better to give him enough time to recover," O'Connell told Reuters from his base in Iten, a small village in Kenya's Rift Valley area that is the home to many of the country's middle and long-distance champion runners.
"His knee is actually already healing but Moscow came a bit too soon."
O'Connell said Rudisha planned to start next season by defending his title at Doha's Diamond League event in May, though his competitive return could take place in Australia two months earlier.
"There is a race in Melbourne and a race in Sydney. He will possibly go there to run," said O'Connell, an Irish missionary who has coached the 24-year-old since he was a teenager.
Rudisha became a global athletics icon when he smashed the 800m world record in the final at the 2012 London Games, adding an Olympic gold to his world crown.
"Defending his (world) title would have been fantastic and on that side, it has been a disappointment," O'Connell added. "But he took it well, he's in good spirits."
(Editing by George Obulutsa and John O'Brien)