Janet Achola will forever remember Sunday, May 27 as a career changing night.
The Ugandan middle distance runner not only broke the 1500m national record, she fulfilled her dream of qualifying for the Olympic Games.
Achola will compete in the London Games after finishing fifth in 4:05.52 at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games in Hengelo, Netherlands.
Achola was outstanding on a night when her colleague Annet Negesa finished third in 800m, posting 1:59.08, a personal best and national record.
Being her first time to complete the two laps below two minutes, African champion Negesa, gets renewed confidence she can contend with the world’s best at the Olympics starting on July 27. But Achola will be the happier of the two runners returning from Netherlands.
While Negesa’s ticket to London was never in doubt, Achola’s name was until Sunday on the waiting list.
Considering that her previous personal best set at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, stood at 4:09.51 (national record then but later bettered by Negesa’s 4:09.17), not very many gave Achola a chance of securing an Olympic slot.
But her work ethic and determination over the past few seasons have been tremendous. She has earned a deserved reward but will need another stellar performance to leave a mark in London.
Another Ugandan Abraham Kiplimo finished a distant 11th in men’s 10,000m in a time of 27:49.76. His time is good enough to earn him a category B Olympics slot but its unlikely he will be considered unless he clocks 27:45.00.
Kenyan Janeth Jepkosgei meanwhile won the 800m in 1:57.79, finishing ahead of Yuneisy Santiusty (1:58.53) from Cuba. Great Britain’s Hannah England came top in the 1500m in 4:04.05 followed by German Corinna Harrer (4:04.81).
Elsewhere, Moses Kipsiro could only finish eighth at the IAAF Gold Label 10km race in Bangalore, India on Sunday. The Ugandan, who clinched double Commonwealth gold in India two years ago, wasn’t as lucky this time round, posting 28:49.
Kipsiro has not enjoyed good form since 2010 and faces a race against time to get into top shape for the Olympics. Kenyan Geoffrey Kipsang won the road race, 49 seconds ahead of Kipsiro.