By Norman Katende
Winnie Nanyondo had the biggest win of her career when she beat former world champion, South Africa’s Castor Semenya to register her first sub 2 minutes in the women 800 race.
She clocked 1:59.39 to finish second in the FBK Games in Hengelo, Netherlands.
Ronald Musagala and Philip Kipyeko also set new personal best times in the men's 800m and 3000m events at the same games.
Musagala competing in Moscow, 2013
Competing in her second European circuit, after she set a new personal best by finishing fourth in Belgium last week, Nanyondo put up a great fight, showing improvement in her style of running and decision making.
She finished second behind USA’s Brenda Martinez (1:59.24). Cuban Rose Almanza (1:59.39) came in third in a race that had 2009 World championships gold medallist South African Castor Semenya and bronze medallist, Great Britain’s Jennifer Meadows.
Nanyondo, who always burnt herself by running all out was this time calculative, speeding to get a good position and then deciding to run just behind the race leaders.
Even when the race became hotter and others decided to fall off, she just kept on chasing the top duo, not looking back as she had promised earlier.
By the last 200m when Martinez and Almanza broke off the pack, she never gave up, continuing the exciting chase which saw her squeeze in between them for her big win.
“I made it. Thanks be to God. I will now target breaking the national record,” said an excited Nanyondo after the race.
She had earlier complained of hostile weather but promised to focus and now has 0.30seconds to set a new national record.
Musagala also came in strong with a new personal best of 1:45.27 after beating home boy Thijmen Kupers (1:45.68) in a home straight battle with winner Robert Biwott from Kenya who confidently escaped at the final bend to win in a time of 1:44.75.
Musagala and Nanyondo have already qualified for the Commonwealth Games.
Uganda’s junior duo of Philip Kipyeko (7:44.14) and Abdallah Mande (7:48.12) were not disappointed by their 7th and 11th finish in the race that had bigger names like Cornelius Kangogo and Augustine Choge from Kenya together with Bernard Lagat (USA), who are experienced top runners and have won medals on the international scene.
Their time was inside the IAAF World junior qualifying mark of 8:15.00 over the 3000m distance, pitting them in a position to challenge for the medal at the Oregon event.
The Ugandans are expected to compete in a series of international races this month before they come back for further training.
FBK Games women 800m results
1 Brenda Martinez (USA) 1:59.24
2 Winnie Nanyondo (UGA) 1:59.39
3 Rose Almanza (CUB)1:59.70
4 Lynsey Sharp (GBR) 2:00.09
5 Jennifer Meadows (GBR) 2:00.51
6 Shelayna Oskan (GBR) 2:01.95
7 Irina Maracheva (RUS) 2:03.79
8 Sahily Diago (CUB) 2:05.27
9 Caster Semenya (RSA) 2:06.35
10 Yvonne Hak (NED) 2:12.26
Elena Kobeleva (RUS) DNF
1 Robert Biwott (KEN) 1:44.75
2 Ronald Musagala (UGA) 1:45.27
3 Thijmen Kupers (NED) 1:45.68
4 Abraham Kiplagat (KEN) 1:46.13
5 Mark English (IRL) 1:46.22
6 Robin Schembera (GER) 1:46.33
7 Andreas Bube (DEN) 1:46.49
8 Patrick Kiprotich Ronoh (KEN) 1:46.85
9 Guy Learmonth (GBR) 1:47.75
10 Andreas Lange (GER) 1:47.80
11 Jan van den Broeck (BEL) 1:52.59
Bram Som (NED) DNF
1 Cornelius Kipruto Kangogo (KEN) 7:41.27
2 Augustine Kiprono Choge (KEN) 7:41.57
3 Bernard Lagat (USA) 7:41.94
4 Mekonnen Gebremedhin (ETH) 7:42.90
5 Soufiyan Bouqantar (MAR) 7:43.33
6 Abdi Bashir (SOM) 7:44.12
7 Phillip Kipyeko (UGA) 7:44.14
8 Elroy Gelant (RSA) 7:44.20
9 Joilson da Silva (BRA) 7:46.57
10 Teshome Dirirsa (ETH) 7:46.92
11 Abdallah Kibet Mande (UGA) 7:48.12
12 Dmitrijs Jurkevics (LAT) 7:49.51
13 Berhanu Legese (ETH) 7:51.09
14 Andrew Vernon (GBR) 7:56.84
15 Meresa Kahsay (ETH) 7:59.53
16 Chalachew Shimels (ETH) 8:16.19
Geoffrey Kipkoech Rono (KEN) DNF
René Stokvis (NED) DNF
Benard Koros (KEN) DNF
Nanyondo beats Semenya to break 2-minute barrier