Nakaayi up to improve her strategy

Seeking perfection. One of Nakaayi’s biggest challenges in the two-lap race has always been in being boxed in the pack, which costs her in the final dash. She now wants to find the perfect balance. PHOTO | COURTESY

Halimah Nakaayi was not disappointed despite finishing a distant sixth place over the 800m during the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon, US, on Saturday.

Running her second outdoor two-lap race of the season, Nakaayi produced a strong display to post a time of one minute and 59.94 seconds on the brown tartan at the Hayward Field.

“The race has been good,” said Nakaayi in the early hours of yesterday. 

But the world champion wasn’t satisfied either with her performance at the Eugene leg of the Wanda Diamond League (DL).

“My race strategy has not been good but I hope for better performances in the upcoming competitions,” the determined middle-distance runner added.

Space tactics

Like during the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi, Kenya on May 7, Nakaayi needed to jostle for space in the pack even if the pacer took them to the bell in 58.3 seconds. 

And it is something she’ll need to better over the next races in Europe.

Why? Whenever she is not troubled over the first 400m, Nakaayi is focused in the final half and often delivers.

That wasn’t the case on Saturday night during the race won by Olympic silver medallist Briton Keely Hodgkinson in a world lead time of 1:57.72.

Then, 2019 DL champion Ajee Wilson came second 1:58.06 and her American compatriot Raevyn Rogers finished third in 1:58.44.

Meanwhile, Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai missed her national record target of a sub-8:58 and under after laxing towards the bell before finishing fourth in the 3000m steeplechase.

Chemutai, 22, posted a time of 9:05.54 over the seven-and-a-half lap race won by Kenyan-born Norah Jeruto of Kazakhstan in 8:57.97, a world lead time.   

In the women’s 1500m, Winnie Nanyondo missed breaking the four-minute barrier as she came eighth with 4:00.25 in the race won by Olympic champion Kenyan Faith Kipyegon. 

Kipyegon was pushed by Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay to produce a meeting record of 3:52.59.

Elsewhere, Roger Kibet missed the 5000m qualifying mark of 13:13.50 to the Oregon World Championships after posting 13:14.68 in third place during the Oodergem Meeting in Belgium.

“Rogers just missed but that was not a goal. Next week, he goes for the entry standard on the 10000m in Hengelo,” coach Addy Ruiter said of the teenager.

His counterpart Daniel Kibet posted 13:19.38 in fifth place.


1.Keely Hodgkinson GBR 1:57.72

2.Ajee Wilson USA 1:58.06

3.Raevyn Rogers USA 1:58.44

6.Halimah Nakaayi UGA 1:59.94