Middle-distance runner Winnie Nanyondo has mixed feelings about the Qatari capital Doha.
She missed a medal by 0.43 seconds enroute to a fourth place finish in the 800m final in one minute and 59.18 seconds.
And five days later, her body was overwhelmed and she finished 11th in the 1,500m final inside the Khalifa Stadium at last year’s World Championships. Almost exactly a year later, Nanyondo is back to the Middle East city and tonight, she will run in the 800m race during the Doha Diamond League Meeting.
“I can’t promise anything,” she told this paper. The 27-year-old arrived in Doha early this week but it has been difficult to adjust to the conditions.
“It’s very hot,” she said. Humidity is at 55 percent with temperatures highest at 38 degrees Celsius forecast for today. But the 2014 Commonwealth 800m bronze medallist has been training to run around dusk - the time that she will line-up in a 10-strong field at the Suhaim bin Hamad Stadium.
Change in venue could also be a factor for Nanyondo. “This (Hamad) is different (from Khalifa).”
But Nanyondo reckons that she is not having the best of time this year on track especially after finishing eighth over 1000m at the Monaco Diamond League (DL) in France on August 14.
And on return to Europe on September 8, she came ninth in the 1,500m at the Ostrava Golden Spike in Czech Republic.
“This year is not easy for me,” she said. But having connected to Alicante, Valencia in Spain from Ostrava to improve on her speed, Nanyondo’s cup of optimism is neither half-full nor half-empty. “I am going to give in my best,” she added. Looking at the field, Nanyondo’s coach Addy Ruiter believes she has a chance to dominate the two-lap race.
“Winnie stayed in Spain after her last race so it’s very difficult to say,” the Dutchman offered.
“The 800m participants are not all from a very high level in Doha so there are opportunities for her,” he added.
Nanyondo is up against a familiar foe in experienced Kenyan Eunice Sum who took fifth place in Doha last year. The 2013 world champion had a personal best (PB) time of 1:56.99.
Africa bronze medallist Ethiopian Habitam Alemu (1:56.71) is the other runner with a better PB than Nanyondo’s (1:58.63).
In-form 1,500m world champion Kenyan Faith Kipyegon, who missed the 1,000m world record in Monaco, is also in the fray.
This is the final competition of the 2020 DL series cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.
AT A GLANCE
Full Name: Winnie Nanyondo
Date of Birth: August 23, 1993
Major Races: 800m, 1500m
Coach: Addy Ruiter
Personal Bests: 1:58.63 (800m), 3:59.56 (1500m)
Kit Sponsor: Nike
Manager: Valentijn Trouw
DOHA DIAMOND LEAGUE
UGANDAN IN ACTION - TONIGHT
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