Xiamen, Nairobi test Chemutai and Nakaayi

Chemutai wants to kick back into form. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

What you need to know:

Both Peruth Chemutai and Halimah Nakaayi scooped silver medals over the 3000m steeplechase and 800m respectively during the trip to Accra.

The global outdoor athletics season has begun relatively early for top athletes. The African Games in Ghana lifted some of Uganda’s top stars.

Both Peruth Chemutai and Halimah Nakaayi scooped silver medals over the 3000m steeplechase and 800m respectively during the trip to Accra.

Chemutai and Nakaayi share the same goal: gold medals in their respective events come August during the Paris Olympics in France.

Nakaayi’s quest heads next door to Kenya where she will line-up to compete over the two-lap race during the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi on Saturday.

“My goal is to check the level of my fitness before going for the Diamond League events,” Nakaayi said.

Ideally, Nakaayi will aim to continue working on her finish over the last 400m. That remains her priority if she is to crack the top three in her discipline; Kenyan Mary Moraa, American Athing Mu and Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson in Paris.

Away from Nairobi, Chemutai is hoping to create a fruitful season when she lines-up in a field of 17 ladies at the Xiamen leg of the Wanda Diamond League in China on Saturday.

Chemutai had a very difficult 2022 where she suffered a bacterial infection during Oregon World Athletics Championships in Eugene, USA and then poorly stepped over the barrier and fell down in the race final during the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in England.

Last year, Chemutai spent a long time with illness all through the season and she was the last to qualify for the Budapest Worlds in Hungary.

Nakaayi in her stride. PHOTO/EDDIC CHICCO 

She hopes to at least run better than nine minutes and 10.26 seconds - which was her fastest time over the barriers last season.

“My body is feeling good,” Chemutai said. “Peruth’s shape is improving but still not in the shape of 2021. China will hopefully bring her to a better level,” explained her coach Addy Ruiter.

Meanwhile, Nakaayi is in the Kenyan capital in company of sprinter Shida Leni who will continue her relentless pursuit of beating the women’s 400m qualifying standard of 50.95 seconds to the Paris Games.

Esther Chebet will attempt a goal of under 14:52.00 the same over the 5000m and so will Tom Dradriga over 800m. Dradriga missed a medal in Accra, in fourth place but he has a target: 1:44.70.

The Keino Classic is offering a stage for youngsters Nowel Cheruto, Nancy Chepkworui, Jacob Sande and steeplechaser Elphas Ndiwa.



2pm: Peruth Chemutai (Women’s 3000m Steeplechase), Winnie Nanyondo (Women’s 1500m), Oscar Chelimo & Dan Kibet (Men’s 5000m)


4pm: Shida Leni (Women’s 400m), Halimah Nakaayi (Women’s 800m), Nowel Cheruto (Women’s 1500m), Esther Chebet (Women’s 5000m), Nancy Chepkworui (Women’s 3000m Steeplechase), Tom Dradriga (Men’s 800m), Jacob Sande (Men’s 1500m), Elphas Ndiwa (Men’s 3000m Steeplechase)