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Nakaayi on course to earn billions in sponsorship deals

By James Bakama

Added 15th July 2020 02:27 PM

If she can maintain her form, she will be on course to follow in the footsteps of Jamaican superstars like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price

Nakaayi on course to earn billions in sponsorship deals

If she can maintain her form, she will be on course to follow in the footsteps of Jamaican superstars like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price

From a little-known runner in Najjembe village, Lugazi, Halimah Nakaayi's athletic prowess has thrust her to a six-digit Nike contract.

Nakaayi refuses to give details of her contract but experience shows that first-time winners can secure up to $500,000 (sh1.85bn) annual contracts.

This is much better than the slightly over sh100m contract that Nakaayi went to the Doha World championship with.

Nakaayi was one of the big surprises in the Doha when she struck gold in the women's 800 meters. Looking back at Doha, she says the championship turned her life around.

"Just making the final was huge. I chased poverty from my life with a better contract from kit company-Nike. Then winning gold was even bigger. It meant an even better Nike contract and many more opportunities like the $60,000 winner's prize, attractive appearance fees, and endorsements."

President Yoweri Museveni has also promised to build Nakaayi a house and also buy her a brand-new car like was the case with Dorcus Inzikuru and Stephen Kiprotich and Moses Kipsiro. She however says she is yet to receive the $60,000 Doha winners' prize.

"My managers Global Sports Communication have money. But to me, this is no big deal I am looking to even bigger paydays in the future. I have a big team of training partners, coaches and physios and managers. If this money is divided amongst all these people, I wouldn't remain with much." Nakaayi like most elite athletes has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Athletics like most of the sports activities have been on suspension since March.

With the Nakaayi brand growing exponentially by the day, she is also well aware of what this means for upcoming stars.

Successful national athletes popularize sports in a given country, inspiring more young people to become professional athletes.

Those same athletes are likely to become internationally known, making them valuable for sponsorships and advertising.

Nations that take home medals are shown in a good light on the global stage, which can lead to boosts in tourism, investment, and other indirect benefits. 

If Nakaayi, 25, can maintain her form, she will be on course to follow in the footsteps of Jamaican superstars like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price. The Jamaican has a net worth of $4m (14.8bn) in a shinning career that has her a double Olympic gold medallist and nine-time world champion.

Nakaayi's prayer is that the COVID-19 pandemic ends and plans for the Tokyo Olympics start. 

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