In a year with Olympic Games to come, the lukewarm mood around the global athletics scene is odd largely because of the coronavirus disruptions.
For some runners, there is just little hope while many others still await confirmations or even small windows to open to have their spikes out for big races.
Winnie Nanyondo is one of the lucky few Ugandan elite runners who will begin her 2021 track business early enough with a 1500m race at the Karlsruhe Indoor Meeting in Germany tonight.
Longing for competition
“It’s more of a motivator as 2020 was difficult due to the Covid-19 situation. Athletes are really longing for competitions to take place,” Nanyondo’s manager Jurrie van der Velden told this paper yesterday.
Making the trip to Karlsruhe on Wednesday for the first event of the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold circuit was not easy for the middle-distance runner.
“It’s very cold,” Nanyondo said. “I have to adjust to the situation, even reaching here wasn’t easy.”
This is Nanyondo’s second straight appearance at Karlsruhe, having finished second with 4:08.06, then a national record (NR) last year. She lowered it to 4:06.13 four days later in another German town, Dusseldorf.
Nanyondo currently holds the indoor NRs over the 800m, 1000m, 1500m and the mile and she hopes her first race of the year can deliver similar results. “The aim is to improve my time,” the 27-year-old said yesterday.
“There is no special plan, just to compete and see where she is at this stage of preparation for the Olympics,” added Jurrie.
She will meet familiar foes including Ireland’s Ciara Mageean and home girl Gesa Felicitas Krause who scooped world steeplechase bronze in Doha, Qatar two years ago.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the event is being staged in a ‘bubble format’ with a total of only 200 people granted access to Karlsruhe’s Europahalle Complex of which 120 are the athletes.
Nanyondo at a glance
Date of Birth:
August 23, 1993
Outdoor Personal Bests: 1:58.63 (800m), 3:59.56 (1500m)
Commonwealth 800m Bronze (2014)
Kit Sponsor: Nike
Manager: Valentijn Trouw
Nanyondo's indoor national records
2:04.19 (800m), 2:37.80 (1000m), 4:06.13 (1500m), 4:29.40 (Mile)