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Tuesday,October 20,2020 16:07 PM

Athletics needs more women

By Faith Kiai

Added 14th October 2020 02:10 PM

The only way to get the best out of any athletes is to give them regular competition worthy enough to push them to the limit

Athletics needs more women

Halima Nakaayi's star is on the rise.

The only way to get the best out of any athletes is to give them regular competition worthy enough to push them to the limit

Whilst Joshua Cheptegei continues to inspire a whole generation of Ugandans, let's not forget the amount of work the women need to garner that attention.

Cheptegei has set the athletics bar so high that measuring up will be a tough act to follow.

When you see the repertoire of achievements the 24-year-old has been able to piece together in the last two years, it leaves one wondering, can the ladies produce an elite athlete good enough to challenge the Sifan Hassans and Hellen Obiris of this world?

Unlike Kenya and Ethiopia, we aren't a country that is brimming with female talents as compared to the boys. Strange as it may seem, there are quite a number of athletes going out for competitions in this country, it's just that most are men.

Up until last week, our 10000m record of 31:33.99 was held by Juliet Chekwel and it had stood for four years before Sarah Chelengat shaved a few microseconds now at 31:06.46. If the competition was as much in the long distances as it is in the 800m and 1500m, then maybe this record could have been checked.

The only way to get the best out of any athletes is to give them regular competition worthy enough to push them to the limit. Look at Winnie Nanyondo and Halima Nakaayi. The former had the edge in terms of athleticism and records but because she is best friends with the latter, they've managed to push themselves to do better.

This friendship/pseudo rivalry inspired both athletes so much that in the IAAF World Championship finals in Doha when Nakaayi strung together the race of her life and became world champion, she surpassed her friend to put Uganda on the map.

If anything, the distances of 5000m and 10000m could use more competitiveness between the individuals involved. If Sarah Chelangat, Juliet Chesang, Mercyline Chelangat, and Juliet Chekwel were nipping on each other's heels regularly then possibly that record would not have stood for as long.

Dorcus Izikuru's 3000m steeplechase legacy is fading with the lack of more elite competitors in the discipline.

Peruth Chemutai is lonely and needs competition.

The writer is an analyst on SportsWoman which airs Thursdays at 2:30 pm on Urban TV

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