Kenya's David Rudisha, the fastest man over 800m in the world in 2009 will throw down the gauntlet to Australia's top track athletes when he lines up at the Sydney and Melbourne legs of the Australian Athletics Tour across two fast and furious nights of track and field action.
The 21-year-old, who is the fourth fastest man of all time over 800m, will contest the 400m at the Sydney Track Classic at Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday, February 27 and take on his premier event, the 800m, at the Melbourne Track Classic at Melbourne Olympic Park on Thursday, March 4.
In what could be the race of the domestic season Rudisha and dual Olympic medallist David Neville (USA) will go head-to-head with Australia's best 400m athletes at Sydney Olympic Park as world championships 4x400m relay bronze medallists Joel Milburn, Ben Offereins, John Steffensen, Tristan Thomas and Sean Wroe lead the one-lap event through a nationwide purple patch.
In Melbourne Rudisha will set an almighty challenge to Beijing Olympian Lachlan Renshaw and Australia's top 800m men in a prelude to the two-lap event at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, in October.
Rudisha said the current strength of athletics in Australia made the domestic series the perfect start to his 2010 campaign in the all-important lead-up to the Delhi Games.
"In a Commonwealth Games year every race matters and I want to be racing with the best," Rudisha said.
"Australia will be a team to watch in New Delhi but I'm the fourth fastest man of all time over 800m and there's a reason for that."
In 2009 Rudisha was a standout performer on the European circuit, posting victories over 800m in Ostrava (CZE), Zurich (SUI) and Brussels (BEL).
In Rieti, Italy, in September, Rudisha clocked a staggering 1:42.01 to add that title to his collection and etch his name into the history books as the fourth fastest 800m runner of all time.
The former world junior champion hails from strong athletics pedigree, his father Daniel a former world-ranked 400m athlete and member of the gold medal-winning 4x400m relay team at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972.