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Nanyondo qualifies for 1500m semi finals in Tokyo Olympics

Nanyondo finished second in the 1500m race qualifiers this morning posting 4:02:24.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda’s middle distance runner Winnie Nanyondo has stormed the semifinals of the women’s 1500m race at the Olympics in Tokyo. Nanyondo, 27, finished in second position this morning posting 4:02:24 behind defending champion Faith Kipyegon from Kenya who crossed the line in 4:01:40.

Australia’s Linden Hall came third in the race with 4:02:27. Nanyondo who spent most of the time defending the inside lane, ran almost all laps among the first five athletes before she outsprinted all her closest competitors in the last lap.

She however could not find Kipyegon who had gone a distance. Nanyondo qualified automatically for the semifinals. She did not need her time of 4:00.84, which she posted at the Diamond League meet in Florence Italy to storm the semifinals.

Her personal best still stands at 3:59.56, which she set in 2019 at the Rabat Diamond League. The Commonwealth bronze medalist is one of the few Ugandan athletes who qualified for a double in the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

On Saturday, together with her counterpart Halima Nakaayi failed to qualify for the final of 800m race. Nanyondo finished fifth in her heat while Nakaayi finished last in her heat.

Nanyondo will have to use the chance of the 1500m race if she is to reach the podium. She will have to set her pace high to compete with the world’s best in the race.

Nanyondo ranks seventh in the world behind top runners like Sifan Hassan, Faith Kipyegon, Gabriela Debues-Stafford and Laura Muir. This is Nanyondo’s first time to compete in the 1500m race at the summer games.

Although she is making her second appearance in the Olympics, she never participated in the 1500m race on her debut in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro event. She participated in only the 800m where she did not progress from her heat.

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