Halimah Nakaayi is working to get it right. Her new coach, American Tim Rowberry, feels it is a matter of time before everything gets to click over the 800m distance.
The relationship between the two is just new, less than six months old. Yet, they still have to forge a solid way to strike for the podium at August’s Budapest World Athletics Championships in Hungary.
“The process of getting things right with a new coach/athlete dynamic takes time,” Rowberry said. “We’re testing in every race with different tactics so we can go back to training and keep adapting,” he added.
Nakaayi will line-up for the two-lap race beaming with confidence but also hoping to rise higher during the Paris Diamond League meeting in France on Friday.
“I am looking forward to running better and better with good results, of course, God willing,” Nakaayi said.
The 2019 world champion Nakaayi has had an admirable turnout this season outdoors. Her third place finish with one minute and 59.40 seconds during the Janusz Kusociński Memorial in Chorzów, Poland was her third straight podium finish.
While she faced an improved Australian challenger Catriona Bisset and Briton Jemma Reekie in Chorzów, the race at Stade Sébastien Charléty presents a tougher competitor for Nakaayi in world and Olympic silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson from Great Britain.
The field of 12 ladies still has Bisset who is the fastest this year with 1:58.32 as well as the decorated American pairing of Raeyvn Rogers and Wilson Ajee.
Meanwhile, US-based sprinter Tarsis Orogot on Thursday morning became the first Ugandan to run the 200m under 20 seconds after he broke his own national record again to 19.94 seconds via second place in Heat 2 of the men’s semi-finals during the ongoing NCAA Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas.
Orogot advanced and he is due to compete in the final at Mike A. Myers Stadium in the early hours of Saturday.
UGANDAN IN ACTION – FRIDAY
Paris Diamond League: Halimah Nakaayi (800m)
NCAA Track & Field: Tarsis Orogot (200m final)
NCAA TRACK & FIELD RESULTS
MEN’S 200M SEMI-FINAL HEAT 2
1 Udodi Onwuzurike (Stanford) 19.76
2 Tarsis Orogot (Alabama) 19.94
NAKAAYI AT A GLANCE
Date of birth: October 14, 1994
Club: Uganda Wildlife Authority
Major Honours: 2011 Commonwealth Youth Gold (400m), 2019 African Games Bronze (800m), 2019 World Championship Gold (800m), 2022 World Indoor Championship Bronze (800m) Coaches: Addy Ruiter
Manager: Jurrie van der Velden
May 6: Track Festival, 1st 2:00.21
May 27: Los Angeles Grand Prix, 2nd 1:59.35
Jun 4: Janusz Kusociński Memorial, 3rd 1:59.40