By Norman Katende
It took eight hours of lobbying, meetings and explanations before Winnie Nanyondo could be cleared to run in the women 800m at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland according to the officials from the Athletics village.
A joint effort led by Athletics team manager Apollo Musherure and coach Benjamin Longiross had to transverse all technical delegates to appeal for Nanyondo to be included on the start list after she had been scrapped off as per IAAF rules.
Rules say that an athlete who makes the start list and fails to compete in a particular event will be stopped from competing in any other subsequent event unless there is a convincing reason.
Ali Ngaimoko (400m) and Nanyondo (1500m) had failed to appear for the races, and whereas for Ngaimoko it was on medical grounds and had been cleared by the Games medical officers, Nanyondo had wanted to rest to focus on her 800m.
It was here that the running around started through the offices of the competition director, and it was only five hours to the completion that she was confirmed for the race.
“It was hectic but worth it. We had to plead from different offices until we had a breakthrough,” said Musherure after Nanyondo winning a bronze medal at the games.
Nanyondo nearly missed the final also after she had been entered in the women long relay, which was a minute away.
She was only saved by Emily Nanziri’s falling sick in the morning, with the organisers granting Team Uganda to pull out of the relays.
Inspired by Negesa
Nanyondo has said that Annet Negesa inspired her to win a medal at the games.
Negesa is a former Africa junior 800m and 1500m champion and a bronze medallist in the 2010 World junior championships and held the record which Nanyondo broke last month.
“Athletics was not easy at that time and she stood in for us. She cared for us, paid for our accommodation and we never lacked anything to eat. In fact we told her that we needed to eat something, she bought it so we were able to train on,” said Nanyondo, whose three years of serious running has paid off.
“I wanted to be part of the athletes who benefit from the State House fund and I could only do this by winning a medal,” she said on her inspiration to win.
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Serious lobbying got Nanyondo in 800m race before medal win