Season opening win thrills Nakaayi

Good start. Nakaayi (left) is congratulated by a fellow runner after the 800m race in the Germany city of Karslruhe on Saturday. PHOTO/AFP

What you need to know:

  • A less busy 2020 coupled with a knee problem last April explain it all and inevitably, it took her a while to break the two-minute barrier over the now very competitive two-lap distance in that season.

Halimah Nakaayi struggled to find her groove last year. The world 800m champion was far from her best before and after the Tokyo Olympic Games. 
A less busy 2020 coupled with a knee problem last April explain it all and inevitably, it took her a while to break the two-minute barrier over the now very competitive two-lap distance in that season.

The 27-year-old however looks to have buried the dead year. Nakaayi’s focus is on defending her global title at the Eugene World Championships in Oregon, USA come July. 
And she started 2022 in impressive fashion by winning the 800m race at the World Athletics Indoor Tour season opener in Karlsruhe, Germany on Friday night. 
Nakaayi beat the seven-man field in a time of two minutes and 2.81 seconds.
 
“That’s how I opened my season in Karisruhe in Germany,” Nakaayi wrote on her Facebook page. “I am so greatful for the opportunity,” she added. 
Whereas the time can be improved, the gist in Karlsruhe was in Nakaayi’s finish. The win was her first international race triumph since taking the world title in Doha, Qatar three years ago.
“Halimah was running a very good race. Speeding up very well in the last lap,” her coach Addy Ruiter remarked. 
“It will give her confidence for the next race. Time was not fast but it was a tactical race. A fast time will come,” the Dutchman added. 

Nakaayi’s counterpart Winnie Nanyondo equally had a memorable day to remember. 
She couldn’t catch the leading Ethiopian trio in the final stretch but ably pulled off a personal best in the 1500m race.
The 2014 Commonwealth 800m bronze medalist Nanyondo finished fourth in a time of 4:04.25. No other Ugandan has run faster. 
Ethiopian Axumawit Embaye won in a world leading time of 4:02.12.

Karlsruhe Indoor Meet
RESULTS
WOMEN’S 800M 
1.Halimah Nakaayi    UGA     2:02.81
2.Christina Hering    GER     2:03.73
3.Tanja Spill     GER     2:04.39
WOMEN’S 1500M
1.Axumawit Embaye     ETH     4:02.12
2.Hirut Meshesha     ETH     4:02.14
3.Freweyni Hailu    ETH    4:02.66
4.Winnie Nanyondo    UGA    4:04.25

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