Nakaayi feeling great ahead of Budapest

Nakaayi (3rd L) dips in at the finish line behind race winner Jemma Reekie at the London Stadium. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

For a second time in a space of a week, Nakaayi lowered her own personal best (PB) and national record (NR), this time at the London Diamond League (DL) Meeting in England.

Halimah Nakaayi is a very happy woman. After enduring a tough outdoor season last year, the Ugandan middle-distance runner now surely has regained her mojo.

On Saturday, she did something extraordinary in her elite running career over the 800m.

For a second time in a space of a week, Nakaayi lowered her own personal best (PB) and national record (NR), this time at the London Diamond League (DL) Meeting in England.

Nakaayi dipped in at the finish-line but even if she could beat her more experienced and familiar competitor in Jamaican Natoya Goule-Toppin for second place, she clocked a superb time of one minute and 57.62 seconds.

“I am feeling good, and I thank the Almighty Allah for the steady progress,” Nakaayi said via phone. “It was a very good race,” she remarked.

A week prior, Nakaayi had posted 1:57.78 for second place behind Kenyan Mary Moraa during the Silesia DL Meeting in Chorzów, Poland.

It is all finely setting up for the 2019 world champion ahead of the Budapest World Athletics Championships in Hungary next month.

Last year, Nakaayi struggled to break out of traffic after the first 400m and even didn’t make any two-lap final during the Oregon World Championships in Eugene, USA and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in England.

But, with extra notes from coach American Tim Rowberry as well as targets from Global Sports Communication managers Jurrie van der Velden and Valentin Trouw, Nakaayi has tremendously improved.

Like in Chorzów, Nakaayi displayed power in the field early on as the 11-lady group jostled into lane 1. Pacemaker Pole Aneta Lemiesz took them through 400m within 56.53 seconds. 

Nakaayi moved into second place behind Goule-Toppin until the final bend when Scot Jemma Reekie came through to win in 1:57.30, now the world’s third fastest time of the year. Goule-Topping came second in 1:57.61.

After Sunday, this marks the fourth time that Nakaayi has broken her own NR and surely, even with Moraa, Keely Hodgkinson, Reekie and reigning champion American Athing Mu, Nakaayi will hope to grab silverware in Budapest.

She has a few more weeks to polish up in the company of training partner Dutch girl Sifan Hassan with coach Rowberry, likely in Utah State.



1 Jemma Reekie (GBR)                      1:57.30

2 Natoya Goule-Toppin (JAM)           1:57.61

3 Halimah Nakaayi (UGA)                 1:57.62



1:55.77 by Keely Hodgkinson (GBR) on Jun 9, 2023

1:56.85 by Mary Moraa (KEN) on Jul 16, 2023

1:57.30 by Jemma Reekie (GBR) on Jul 23, 2023

1:57.61 by Natoya Goule-Toppin (JAM) on Jul 23, 2023

1:57.62 by Halimah Nakaayi (UGA) on Jul 23, 2023


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Jul 18, 2014 - 1:58.63 by Winnie Nanyondo

Jun 27, 2018 - 1:58.39 by Halimah Nakaayi

Sept 30, 2019 - 1:58.04 by Halimah Nakaayi

Jul 9, 2021 - 1:58.03 by Halimah Nakaayi

Jul 16, 2023 - 1:57.78 by Halimah Nakaayi

Jul 23, 2023 - 1:57.62 by Halimah Nakaayi