Halimah Nakaayi has tipped her training partner and close friend Winnie Nanyondo ahead of the final meeting of this year’s Wanda Diamond League.
Nanyondo, set for the 800m, is the only Ugandan athlete competing on Friday in Doha.
After a year past, Nanyondo returns at the venue where she finished fourth in the same race won by Nakaayi.
Vividly, the race is remembered not by Nakaayi’s surprise win by the after events that followed – Nanyondo joined Nakaayi as the pair danced the traditional Kiganda dance on track. Iconic.
“I have talked to her (Nanyondo),” Nakaayi revealed in an interview with The-SportsNation.
“She knows what to do. Doha is very hot, so its going to be a rough race. But I hope for the best performance from her.”
Nakaayi’s winning time of 1:58.04 in Doha last year at the World Championship, is the National Record, which Nanyondo has to target.
However, it has not been a good year for her – She recently finished eighth in Ostrava’s Golden Spike.
“Every race is a different competition,” Nakaayi adds. “She must have have belief and go with new tactics.”
Nakaayi, who recently broke the 1000m National record in Monaco last month, says that she is not in Doha because of an injury.
She explained: “I was injured even before Monaco but after that event, it got more serious.”
“But I am now getting better and better and started to training.”
What Are The Records At Stake?
Besides the National record, the meeting record is at 1:54.98 set by South Africa’s Caster Ssemenya in May last year.
The World Lead this year is at 1:58.10 set by Norway’s Hynne Hedda on September 15, 2020 at the Stadio Comunale, Bellinzona.
Who is the biggest threat for Nanyondo?
Without a second guess, its Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon from Kenya. She won the 1500m in Ostrava where Nanyondo came eighth. However, this will be her first 800m race in five years!
Kipyegon’s personal best is at 1:58.02, while Nanyondo’s is at 1:58.63. Close.
The 2013 world champion Eunice Sum, Ethiopia’s Alemu Habitam and Kenya’s Sum Eunice Jepkoech are the other contenders for the 800m throne.
What Else To Watch?
A long list of our neighbours, the Kenyans are set for a field day; Timothy Cheruiyot looks a favourite for the Men’s 800m.
Conseslus Kipruto will take on Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega in the 1500m men.
For the women, 3000m, four Kenyans will go head to head – Hellen Obiri, Beatrice Chepkoech, Hyvin Kiyeng and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi. World 1500m bronze medallist Gudaf Tsegay (Ethiopia) is also in action.
Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josée Ta Lou has the toughest of the tasks when she face Jamaican sprinter, Elaine Thompson-Herah in the women’s 100m.
Off the African radar, there is world record holder Mondo Duplantis (Sweden) in the men’s pole vault who may find stiff competition in Sam Kendricks (USA) and Renaud Lavillenie (France).
How To Watch
Definitely on SuperSport and live updates on The-SportsNation social media pages.
As the curtains go down on Friday, there will be mixed feelings. Hope had been lost initially after the pandemic hit, but the fact that some meetings have been held, is a win in its own right.
Three meetings – Monaco, Stockholm and Rome have been held while four exhibitions have been registered as well including the opener in Oslo, Norway on June 2020.
Qatar, better be good.