Uganda: Winnie Nanyondo
Event: Women’s 1500m final
Date: Friday, August 6
TV: Sanyuka TV
Two years ago in Doha at the World Championships, fourth placed Winnie Nanyondo danced down the track alongside Halimah Nakaayi who had won 800m gold.
Those memories are still fresh for Nanyondo who will be eager to celebrate her won success on Friday when she crosses the finish line at the Women’s 1500m final.
She pulled some dance moves on Wednesday after qualifying from the semis, coming fourth with a time of 4:01.64 behind Winner Sifan Hassan, Laura Muir and Linden Hall in heat two.
The former fashion and designer student will draw inspiration not only from Nakaayi’s victory at the Worlds two years ago, but from Peruth Chemutai’s stunning gold-medal performance at the 30000m steeplechase victory.
Pressure of becoming the first female medal winner at the Olympics is no longer on Nanyondo’s shoulder after Chemutai’s exploits earlier this week, but her target is to match that in similar fashion.
Her best time this year at the distance is 4:00.84 she posted at the Wanda Diamond League in Florence and she will be required to run a sub-four minute final if she is to stun the 13-woman field on Friday.
She has done that before when she clocked 3:59.56 in Rabat in 2019.
Whether she still has that energy in her resevoir, remains to be seen for an athlete who will be running her fifth competitive race in a space of about seven days.
She will need to dig deep in her armoury to combine endurance and speed if she is to write history on what promises to be a good day for Uganda at the games given the Ugandan trio of Joshua Cheptegei, Jacob Kiplimo and Oscar Chelimo will be in 5000m final earlier.
Newly-crowned Olympic Games 5000 metres champion Sifan Hassan (Netherlands) and Olympics 1500m defending champion Faith Kipyegon (Kenya) will be the women to beat.
Great Britain’s Laura Muir missed the 800m to majorly concentrate at the 1500m and has already sent warning bells in the qualification.
Freweyni Gebreezibeher (Ethiopia), Jessica Linden Hall (Australia), Nozomi Tanaka (Japan) and Gabriela Debues-Stafford (Canada) have also shown medal intentions.