What you need to know:
Belated Debut. Two years ago, both Nanyondo and her counterpart Halimah Nakaayi qualified for the Indoor finals but the edition set for Nanjing, China was cancelled just as the coronavirus engulfed the world.
Middle-distance runner Winnie Nanyondo will end Uganda’s 10-year absence at the World Athletics Indoor Championships when she competes in Belgrade, Serbia today.
Uganda has not had representation at this biennial event since Moses Kipsiro and Julius Mutekanga competed in the 3000m and 800m during the 2012 edition at the Ataköy Athletics Arena in Istanbul, Turkey. Yet two years ago, both Nanyondo and her counterpart Halimah Nakaayi qualified for the Indoor finals but the edition set for Nanjing, China was cancelled just as the coronavirus engulfed the world.
However, Nanyondo still beat the 1500m qualifying mark of 4:09.00 to secure a ticket to Belgrade.
“Feeling blessed,” she posted via her social media on Wednesday.
The 2014 Commonwealth 800m bronze medallist will now become the only fifth female from Uganda to compete at this championship when she lines up in the 1500m Heats this afternoon at the Stark Arena.
Dorcus Inzikuru is the last female to compete when she featured in the 3000m during the Budapest 2004 edition in Hungary.
Grace Birungi competed in the 800m at the Maebashi 1999 show in Japan and six years prior in Toronto, Canada, Edith Nakiyingi did that four-lap race too.
Road to final
Oliver Acii was the first lady to take part at the World Indoor finals when she ran the 60m during the Indianapolis 1987 in the United States of America (USA).
In Belgrade, Nanyondo, who has clocked the sixth fastest time - of 4:03.54 - over 1500m indoor, will aim to reach the race final due tomorrow night.
A field of 22 runners from 17 countries is entered for this event with Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay the favourite for the gold.
Tsegay is the only one to post a time under four minutes - 3:54.77 when she won at the Copernicus Cup in Poland last month.
WORLD ATHLETICS INDOOR CHAMPS
DAY ONE - UGANDAN IN ACTION
2:30pm: Winnie Nanyondo
(Women’s 1500m Heats)
NANYONDO IN 2022 (INDOOR)
Jan 28: Karlsruhe Meeting - 1500m (4th, 4:04.25)
Feb 14: Meeting de l’Eure - 800m (3rd, 2:02.14)
Feb 17: Meeting Lievin - Mile (8th, 4:30.11)
Feb 22: Copernicus Cup - 1500m (6th, 4:03.54)