Nanyondo misses out on medal, again

Ugandan middle-distance runner Winnie Nanyondo. PHOTOS/AFP

What you need to know:

  • Nanyondo, 28, came fourth, and will be encouraged to maintain and better her shape ahead of a busy July. 

Winnie Nanyondo has fallen down several times and sometimes or often, she has been written off. She has however risen up but sadly, without medals.

The middle-distance runner is now carrying another heartbreak from the indoor track. She could have become Uganda’s first-ever medalist at the 18th World Athletics Indoor Championships at the weekend.

But her gods spoke otherwise on Saturday night. As the Serbian capital lit up, Nanyondo just fell short of the podium after finishing fourth following an electric 1500m final inside the Stark Arena.

Since featuring at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain a decade ago, Nanyondo has been a regular at global championships. She, however, has just one medal to show – an 800m bronze – from the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. 

Shortcomings like that of Saturday night, where she posted a time of four minutes and 4.60 seconds, explain her meagre medal tally. Nanyondo has finished fourth thrice in championship finals and also taken fifth place twice, much to her disappointment.

The biggest miss of them all came during the World Championships in Doha where she lost the bronze medal in the final 30m as Halimah Nakaayi scooped the 800m gold.

On Saturday, Nanyondo knew her painful history very well. She even quickly responded up the bell, thrusting to second place at the start of the seven-and-a-half-lap race. But favourite and world 1500m indoor record holder Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay pulled away upon 700m.

And her country-mates Axumawit Embaye and Hirut Meshesha, both familiar to Nanyondo, equally charged forward.

Nanyondo kept at the back of the four-lady chasing group, but Tsegay pulled further away and was clearly in her own world at halfway stage – to win the race and gold in a championship record time of 3:57.19. 

Embaye and Meshesha, too, pulled away from the pursuing quartet to guarantee an Ethiopian 1-2-3 finish. 

Behind them, Nanyondo, 28, came fourth, and will be encouraged to maintain and better her shape ahead of a busy July. 

World 800m champion Nakaayi was due to compete in the four-lap final last night.

World Indoors Champs

Women’s 1500m final results
1.Gudaf Tsegay    ETH    3:57.19
2.Axumawit Embaye    ETH    4:02.29
3.Hirut Meshesha    ETH    4:03.39
4.Winnie Nanyondo    UGA    4:04.60
WOMEN’S 800M HEAT 1
1.Habitam Alemu     ETH    2:01.12
2.Catriona Bisset     AUS    2:01.24
3.Halimah Nakaayi     UGA    2:01.47
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