Nakaayi, Kipyegon to face off in 800-metre race

Nakaayi (L) trains with Olympic 1500m champion Kipyegon early last week. PHOTO | GLOBAL SPORTS COMMUNICATION

What you need to know:

  • After sharing a roof and training spells for a week together at the GSC athletes’ camp in Nijmegen, world 800m champion Nakaayi will face Kipyegon for the first time over the 800m during the FBK Games in another Dutch city of Hengelo tonight.

Halimah Nakaayi, her counterpart Winnie Nanyondo and Kenyan Faith Kipyegon are all managed by Dutch company Global Sports Communication (GSC).

Ugandans sometimes train and often interact with the two-time Olympic 1500m champion at top athletics events. “We are good friends,” Nakaayi affirms.

After sharing a roof and training spells for a week together at the GSC athletes’ camp in Nijmegen, world 800m champion Nakaayi will face Kipyegon for the first time over the 800m during the FBK Games in another Dutch city of Hengelo tonight.

Kipyegon has met Nanyondo more, 17 times to be exact; twice over the 800m and 1000m respectively and 13 more races over the 1500m since 2015.

So the test is fairly new for Nakaayi who has only run once against Kipyegon - during the 1000m race at the 2020 Monaco Diamond League (DL) in France.

“I am ready,” Nakaayi told this reporter. “She (Kipyegon) is aiming to double during the Oregon Worlds so she needs to qualify in 800m.”

Nakaayi struggled with the first lap twice before posting 2:00.93 at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi, Kenya and then 1:59.94 during the Eugene DL in the USA last month.

In Hengelo, Nakaayi must improve on those respective fifth and sixth-place finishes as she continues to build momentum for her world title defence in Oregon next month.

“Halimah will try to start faster in the first 200m to find a better position than she did in Nairobi and Eugene,” her coach Addy Ruiter stated.

Besides Kipyegon, Nakaayi faces more familiar opponents in a 12-lady field like; Australian Catriona Bisset, German Katharina Trost, Cuban Rose Mary Almanza and Canadian Gabriela Debues-Stafford.

Then, Commonwealth 10000m champion Stellar Chesang is bidding to hit the qualification mark of 31:25.00 over the 25-lap race to reach the Oregon Worlds.

“It must not be a problem,” Ruiter said of Chesang who won the Cape Town 10K in South Africa with a national record of 30.39 on May 15.

Meanwhile, Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Peruth Chemutai will hope to do better than 9:20.07 in fourth and 9:05.54 in third respectively at Kip Keino and Eugene. “It’s again a good race for some extra rhythm,” Ruiter said.

“The weather forecast at the moment for Monday is cold and very windy. With conditions like that she must go for the win and below nine minutes is not realistic,” he added.

Commonwealth silver medallist Celliphine Chespol is one of Chemutai’s challengers. Winning this race would be a big boost for Chemutai before Oregon considering the Ugandan hasn’t won any water-jump race since the gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Games last August.

ATHLETICS

Nakaayi faces Kipyegon challenge in Hengelo

Nakaayi faces Kipyegon, Chesang optimistic in Hengelo

FBK Games: Nakaayi takes game to Kipyegon

FBK GAMES HENGELO

UGANDAN IN ACTION - TODAY

Halimah Nakaayi (800m), Peruth Chemutai (3000m Steeplechase), Stellar Chesang (10000m)

LIVE ON SS 227, 4.45PM

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