World champ Nakaayi has big dreams for Tokyo after COVID-19 ends

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 12:00 |
World champion Halimah Nakaayi.

Nairobi, Wednesday

World champion Halimah Nakaayi says she will be under no fear when she emerges to contest the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.

The Ugandan middle distance athlete is among a horde of athletes who cross over to the Kenyan side to train.

But she believes it’s down to her talent now that she has already written history for her country becoming the second woman after Dorcus Inzikuru to win a world title in Doha, last year.

However, she is aware, with her new status as world champion, the pressure will mount when the health situation improves and athletic competition resumes.

That pressure is what she wants to take in her diminutive steps and conquer the fears of unknown and that of her opponents, including dominating the Olympic Games.

“Last year towards the end of the season, my body was responding well. I was in my peak and in perfect shape.

I am ready for the demand that comes with being a world champion. Being a champion is not an easy task, but how to maintain it is what matters,” Nakaayi said on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old Ugandan is planning her Olympic bid. “I know even Tokyo it can be the same. My mind will be like the gold medal is mine, no fear.”

Speaking to the Olympic Channel, Naakayi who is also the 2019 African Games bronze medalist, said she is always trying to make the best out of any situation she finds herself in.

She, like many other athletes, is in coronavirus-induced lockdown. But she will not allow it to tie her down as she hopes to merge stronger and continue ruling the roost in the global front.”

This COVID-19 pandemic has forced the postponement of the Olympics to July 2021. I was targeting World Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China to gauge myself. But that too was cancelled. Then the Olympics was pushed back. That shocked me.

I felt bad about it, but I know they did it for our safety. “I adjusted my mind to be strong as long as we remain alive there are many competitions to compete in.

Tokyo is in my mind because I’m lucky I’m also on an Olympic scholarship. And now being a world champion, I know even Tokyo it can be the same,” she added.

Nakaayi, despite her slow start to running career is adamant she will overcome the challenges and add on the two medals her country Uganda has from the Olympics. John Akii-Bua took 400m hurdles gold in 1972 in Munich before Stephen Kiprotich added the second in London in marathon in 2012.

Now Nakaayi is aiming to become the first woman from her country to scale the top step of the podium at an Olympic Games. Only time will tell. -Xinhua

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