Despite few names getting the Commonwealth nod, Mandela National Stadium Namboole witnessed a course record in the 800 metres and an exciting finish in the women’s 10,000m race during the national trials on Saturday.
Mercyline Chelangat didn’t break any records on this occasion, but was happy to win her 10,000 metres race with an improved time of 31:38.4.
But as was highly anticipated, the performance of the day came in the 800 metres women race, where Dorcus Ajok broke the stadium record.
In the balmy afternoon with mild winds, the women ran fast from the beginning. Ajok, Nasiba Nabirye and pace setter Stella Wonruku passed the 400m point in 57 seconds - a split time that indicated that they were on schedule to finish the race in the required qualifying time.
Keeping the pace
But Ajok, who was running a solo run after Halima Nakayi opted to qualify from South Africa, where she made the grade on Thursday night, managed to keep the pace throughout.
Just before the 600m mark she began to open a gap on Nasiba amidst wild cheers from the scattered fans, crossing the line in 2:00.02 to smash the stadium record. “I was concerned with the lack of a pace setter after Shida (Leni) got a last minute injury.
But after 400ms, I felt it was possible to finish even under two minutes. But I am happy that I qualified,” Ajok said.
The women in the 10,000 metres set off at a steady pace and Chelangat, who had already qualified for the Games looked very strong.
But spectators witnessed a thrilling finish in which Chelangat just edged out her fellow Police runner Stella Chesang.
Juliet Chekwel and Viola Chemos kept up with the pace until when the leaders injected some momentum.
In a thrilling finish, Chelangat opened a very small, decisive gap and crossed the line two steps ahead of Chesang with the two being separated by one second.