Stern test awaits Nakaayi in Lievin

Ugandan athlete Halimah Nakaayi. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Nakaayia and Goule, who finished eighth during the Tokyo Olympics final last year, are the only runners to post under two minutes this season.

Halimah Nakaayi has not had much time to celebrate her world lead time she posted while winning the 800m race during the Meeting de l’Eure in Val-de-Reuil, France on Monday night.

Yet whereas she broke the national record and personal best to a respectable 1:59.55, Nakaayi is not done yet.

The middle-distance continues to prepare for next month’s World Athletics Indoor Championships in France when she lines up for another 800m race at the Pas-de-Calais Meeting in Lievin tonight.

Nakaayi has had a 100 percent winning streak in all her three races indoor this year but the 11-man field in Lievin presents her with a stern test.

“It will be a class between the best of indoor at this moment,” said Nakaayi’s manager Jurrie van der Velden.

The start list at the Arena Stade Couvert has 2018 Commonwealth bronze medallist Jamaican Natoya Goule who has run the second fastest indoor time of the year - 1:59.62 - at the Ocean Breeze Complex in New York, USA on February 6.

Nakaayia and Goule, who finished eighth during the Tokyo Olympics final last year, are the only runners to post under two minutes this season. “Her goal is trying to win the race but the podium is also nice,” said Nakaayi’s coach Addy Ruiter.

The pair however will be tested by Ethiopian Hailu Freweyni, Benin’s Noélie Yarigo, Kenyan Eglay Nalyanya and her counterpart Naomi Korir will do the pace setting duties.

The field will be determined to run under the Meeting Record (MR) of 1:56.36 set by Mozambique’s Maria Mutola in 1998.

Elsewhere at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold event, Nakaayi’s counterpart Winnie Nanyondo will line-up in a field of 14 to compete over the mile.

On paper, Ethiopians Gudaf Tsegay who holds the 1500m world indoor record and Axumawit Embaye are Nanyondo’s biggest foes.

The trio is capable of running the MR’s time of 4:23.0 set by Portuguese Carla Sacramento two decades ago. 

Nanyondo holds the country's indoor record at 4:29.40, set in Birmingham, England three years ago.

WORLD ATHLETICS INDOOR TOUR GOLD

Event: Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais

Venue: Arena Stade Couvert

Location: Liévin, France

Event type: Indoor track and field

Established: 1988

Ugandans in action: Halimah Nakaayi (800m), Winnie Nanyondo (1500m)

NAKAAYI IN 2022 (INDOOR)

Jan 28: Karlsruhe Meeting - 800m (1st, 2:02.81)

Feb 6: Régionaux Lievin - 8000m (1st, 2:01.42)

Feb 14: Meeting de l’Eure - 800m (1st, 1:59.55)

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