Test of consistency for Nakaayi

On form. Halimah Nakaayi  won the women's 800 meter run during the 2024 USATF Los Angeles Grand Prix. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

In Eugene, Nakaayi faces a crunch test. In the group of 10 ladies, Nakaayi’s new personal best is the seventh best

Halimah Nakaayi ended last weekend on a high after she broke her own 800m national record (NR) for a sixth time in as many years.

Nakaayi powered to win the two-lap race at the Los Angeles Grand Prix in California, USA in a time of one minute and 57.56 seconds, beating Ethiopian Tsige Duguma by 0.006 seconds last Saturday.

“Yes, I expected it because every day, I am working hard to be a better version,” Nakaayi said.

Nakaayi has stayed in the USA for an extra week and she made a short flight north to Oregon State where she will compete at the Prefontaine Classic, a leg of the Wanda Diamond League (DL) in Eugene on Saturday.

“God’s timing is always the perfect one,” she said. Nakaayi will vie for consistency in a pretty strong field at the Hayward Field.

Her win in California was the world lead time, only temporarily before South African Prudence Sekgodiso posted 1:57.26 to win the Rabat DL leg in Morocco on Sunday.

In Eugene, Nakaayi faces a crunch test. In the group of 10 ladies, Nakaayi’s new personal best is the seventh best. The race has attracted reigning Olympic champion Athing Mu who has not competed over the two-lap distance since September.

In that race, Mu, 21, broke the American record to 1:54.97 while winning the DL trophy in Eugene. World champion Kenyan Mary Moraa has her PB at 1:56.03 but Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson is the second fastest with 1:55.19.

She is followed by experienced Jamaican Natoya Goule-Toppin at 1:55.96 but having got her body clicking early in the season, Nakaayi must believe that the race has come at a perfect time for her.

Meanwhile, reigning Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Peruth Chemutai will run her fourth water-jump race of the year against a field comprising tough challengers Kenyan-born Bahrani Winfred Yavi and world record holder Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech.

“This field is stronger than the two races she faced in April. It’s a good test if her level is improving,” said Chemutai’s coach Addy Ruiter.

At least, Chemutai must beat the sub-9:10 minute barrier for the first time in two years.


1:57.26 by Prudence Sekgodiso (ETH) on May 19

1:57.56 by Halimah Nakaayi (UGA) on May 18

1:57.56 by Tsige Duguma (ETH) on May 18

1:57.70 by Habitam Alemu (ETH) on May 19

1:57.86 by Phoebe Gill (GBR) on May 11



Halimah Nakaayi (Women’s 800m), Peruth Chemutai (Women’s 3000m Steeplechase)