Ugandan duo Halimah Nakaayi and Winnie Nanyondo continued to enjoy the evening of their athletics season by winning races in Japan at the weekend.
Almost a fortnight since IAAF World Athletics Championships, Nakaayi and Nanyondo bossed the respective middle-distance events 800m and 1500m at the Denka Challenge in Niigata City on Saturday.
The training partners turned sisters each had to brave heavy rain to win the two-lap and mile distance races with significant cheers for them from the small crowd.
Nakaayi led immediately after the 100m and crossed the half-way mark with company of the bell in 1:03 before winning in a time of two minutes and 4.73 seconds at the Denka Big Swan Stadium.
“Thank you very much, thank you for inviting me, it is so amazing to be here,” stated Nakaayi who won the 800m title at the Doha Worlds on September 30 in Qatar.
Nakaayi’s time was far from her national record (NR) of 1:58.04 that she set in Doha. “I had to run an easy race so that my fellow athletes would also enjoy the race. I did not take it so hard,” said the runner who made 25 five days back.
Nanyondo later turned and as well did not need much energy, powering to victory in a time of 4:08.97, much slower than her NR time of 3:59.56.
The pair, who later spent some time donning Japanese wear at the weekend, had used the invite to Japan to ear mark for next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games as well as the World Indoors. Elsewhere in Asia, another Ugandan Moses Kurong came eighth as Ethiopian Andamlak Belihu won the 15th Airtel Dehli Half-Marathon in India yesterday. Kurong posted 1:02:05 after Belihu had crossed the tape in 59:10 minutes.
DENKA ATHLETICS CHALLENGE
1 Halimah Nakaayi (UGA) 2:04.73
2 Ayano Shiomi (JPN) 2:05.16
3 Hana Yamada (JPN) 2:07.90
1 Winnie Nanyondo (UGA) 4:08.97
2 Hellen Ekalale (KEN) 4:09.31
3 Nozomi Tanaka (JPN) 4:11.50
AIRTEL DELHI HALF-MARATHON
1 Andamlak Belihu (ETH) 59:10
2 Solomon Berihu (ETH) 59:17
3 Kibiwott Kandie (KEN) 59:33
8 Moses Kurong (UGA) 62:05