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Nakaayi storms 800m final at Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku

Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi competes during the Athletics Women’s 800m at the Baku 2017 4th Islamic Solidarity Games at the Olympic stadium in Baku on May 16, 2017. PHOTO AFP

Uganda’s Nakaayi wins 800m heats, Iraq’s Alsaamah lands discus gold

Baku, Azerbaijan | AFP |  Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi qualified for the final by over two-and-a-half seconds faster than her nearest rival in the women’s 800-metre heats as she scorched to a time of 2 minutes 02.97 seconds on the first day of athletics at the fourth Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.

The 22-year-old, who has previously broken the two-minute barrier, was well clear of Morocco’s Malika Akkaoui (2:04:37) and Bahrain’s Manal Elbahraoui (2:05:43) who also progressed to tomorrow’s 6pm final.

Olympic semi-finallist Noelie Yarigo of Benin is also safely through after she won heat three.

In the women’s 400-metre hurdles, red-hot favourite Oluwakemi Adeyoka of Bahrain was in impressive form as she blitzed through to the semi-finals.

The Asian Games and Asian Championship gold medallist cantered to victory in heat one in 56.59 seconds.

Uganda is represented at the games by an athletics, swimming, tennis and weightlifting team. The Islamic Solidarity Games comprise 10 days of sporting competition by athletes from over 50 ISSF nations, in 21 sports & 270 medal events.

Earlier, Iraqi athlete Mustaafa Alsaamah stunned the field to claim men’s discus gold on the first day of athletics.

Iran’s Ehsan Hadadi, the Asian Games gold medallist, was widely tipped to challenge for the title at Baku’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, and he led with a fourth-round throw of 60 metres 54 centimetres before Alsaamah’s late intervention.

The 21-year-old Iraqi launched a personal best throw of 60.89 metres in the fifth round to move into the lead by 35 centimetres.

Hadadi only managed 58.70 on his final attempt to snatch back the lead, which handed gold to Alsaamah.

Saudi Arabia’s Sultan Aldawodi, whose personal best stands at 65.52, salvaged a bronze medal with a fifth-round throw of 58.63 metres, to leave Asian Games bronze medallist Ahmed Mohammed Dheeb empty handed.

Azerbaijan chalked up the other gold medal on offer in the morning session as Samir Nabiyev won the men’s disability shot put final.

A superb throw of 13.95 metres was enough to secure the gold ahead of Iranian silver medallist Javid Ehsani Shakib (13.74m).

Iran also clinched the other podium place as Javad Dalakeh threw 13.06 metres.

In the men’s 100-metre heats, Asian Championship and Asian Games gold medallist Femi Ogunode comfortably progressed to Tuesday evening’s semi-finals after winning heat two.

The Qatari, who ran 9.91 seconds earlier this season, coasted to victory in 10.28 ahead of Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Mohammed (10.48s) to qualify second fastest.

Andrew Fisher of Bahrain was the fastest qualifier with a time of 10.20, while Oman’s Barakat Al Harthi (10.29s) and Turkey’s Emre Zafer Barnes (10.33s) also broke the 10.40-second barrier.

In the absence of established female sprinters such as Murielle Ahoure (Cote d’Ivoire), Marie-Josee Ta Lou (Cote d’Ivoire) and Blessing Okagbare (Nigeria), the women’s 100 metres appears to be wide open.

Gambian sprinter Gina Bass was just five hundredths of a second off her personal best as she qualified fastest for the semi-finals in a time of 11.58 seconds.

Turkey’s Mizgin Ay (11.73s), Uzbekistan’s Nigina Sharipova (11.74s), Bahrain’s Iman Essa (11.76s) and Azeri Zakiyya Hasanova (11.78s) all posted competitive times ahead of the evening session.



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