World champ Halimah Nakaayi has big dreams for Tokyo
Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi (R) celebrates with Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo after winning in the Women’s 800m final at the 2019 IAAF Athletics World Championships at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on September 30, 2019. (Photo by MUSTAFA ABUMUNES / AFP)

World champion Halimah Nakaayi says she will be under no fear when she emerges to compete at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

The Ugandan middle-distance athlete is among a horde of athletes including Europeans who cross over to Kenya 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 the 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.

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Despite lack of activity the 25-year-old 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,” she said.

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