The long season for several top athletes in track and field will wrap up this week as the Wanda Diamond League (DL) closes with the two-day final in Zurich, Switzerland.
After middle-distance runner Winnie Nanyondo did not get a slot in the women’s 1500m, it means her counterpart Halimah Nakaayi will be Uganda’s only competitor at the DL final in Zurich tonight.
Nakaayi is entered for the women’s 800m final before three more events wrap up action at the Stadion Letzigrund. “I am here to do my best,” the former world champion said yesterday.
She earned the slot in this two-lap DL final after competing in six races on the circuit in Eugene, USA, Italian city Rome, the Bislett Games in Norway, at the Bauhaus Gala in Sweden, the Monaco leg in France and the recent Swiss meeting in Lausanne.
A total eight Ugandans have featured on the DL events this year including Peruth Chemutai, Ronald Musagala, youngster Dan Kibet, two-time world 10000m champion Joshua Cheptegei, double Commonwealth champion Jacob Kiplimo and his brother Oscar Chelimo.
Nakaayi however wants to end the season on a high considering she missed the 800m final at the Oregon World Championships in USA and then an eighth place finish at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in England.
Her body showed signs of recovery in Lausanne with a time of one minute and 59.73 seconds posted on August 26.
A fortnight later, the world indoor bronze medallist will hope to glance at the prestigious DL trophy even if the 10-lady field has familiar opposition in Commonwealth champion Kenya Mary Moraa and then European champion Keely Hodgkinson from Great Britain.
Jamaican Natoya Goule has enough experience to challenge the status quo, French Renelle Lamote and home girl Lore Hoffmann present a burden in traffic but Nakaayi, whose body is in great shape, can perhaps hit perfection if she positions herself well in the field.
This aspect has eluded her in nearly every outdoor race of the year bar the FBK Games in Hengelo, Netherlands where she finished second, her only podium finish at a city championship.
NAKAAYI IN 2022 (800M OUTDOOR)
May 7: Kip Keino, 5th (2:00.93)
May 28: Prefontaine Classic, 6th (1:59.94)
Jun 6: FBK Games, 2nd (2:00.87)
Jun 9: Rome DL, 10th (2:01.15)
Jun 16: Bislett Games, 4th (1:58.68)
Jun 30: Bauhaus Gala, 4th (1:58.85)
Jul 21: Oregon Worlds Heat 3, 2nd (2:01.41)
Jul 22: Oregon Worlds Semi-Final 3, 8th (2:01.05)
Aug 2: Commonwealth Games Heat 1, 2nd (1:59.35)
Aug 6: Commonwealth Games Final, 8th (2:01.17)
Aug 10: Monaco DL, 6th (2:00.02)
Aug 26: Lausanne DL, 4th (1:59.73)