Halimah Nakaayi’s Paris 2024 Game Plan: Surprising Twist Revealed

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– Halimah Nakaayi feels motivated, not pressured, for Paris 2024.

– Aim: to win a medal.

– Excited to compete with world’s best athletes.

– Previous achievements: Tokyo Olympics, African Games, LA Grand Prix.

– Scheduled for IAAF and Oslo Diamond League.

Ugandan athlete Halimah Nakaayi says she does not feel under pressure and is instead highly motivated ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“Qualifying for the Olympics is already a big bonus, but I am also not under pressure at all ahead of the Games. I’m working hard and working with my coaches to make sure that I am very prepared to be able to win a medal in Paris,” said Nakaayi.

Expresses Excitement

The 800-meter world champion expressed her excitement about competing alongside the world’s greatest athletes. “Any athlete who makes it to the Olympics should have worked hard and what remains is to prove a point at the Games,” she added.

Nakaayi advanced to the 800m semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, before earning a silver medal at the African Games this year in Ghana.

The Ugandan also won the 800m final at last Saturday’s Los Angeles Grand Prix.

Nakaayi will also compete in the IAAF Diamond League, which begins on May 25, followed by the Oslo Diamond League five days later. 


Halimah Nakaayi (born 16 October 1994) is a Ugandan middle-distance runner who specialises in the 800 metres. She is the 2019 World Champion at the event and won the bronze medal at the 2022 World Indoor Championships. Nakaayi is the current Ugandan record holder for the 800 m both outdoors and indoors, and also for the 1000 metres.

She competed in the 800 m at both the 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo Olympics, reaching the semi-finals each time

At 16, Halimah Nakaayi won the 400 metres at the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games held in Douglas, Isle of Man.

In 2012, she ran the second 10 km leg of a marathon relay at a festival celebrating 50 years of Ugandan independence. After advancing from fifth to second, she spent four hours in a coma.

Nakaayi was the flag bearer for Uganda in the closing ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The following year, she came second in her specialist 800 metres distance at the Islamic Solidarity Games in a time of 2:01.60. At the 2017 World Championships, Nakaayi was eliminated from the event in the semifinals, clocking 2:01.74.

2018–2021: World 800 m champion

In 2018, she placed fourth in the 800 m at the African Championships with a time of 1:58.90. She lost to, 1–3, Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba, and Habitam Alemu by only 0.04 seconds.

In August 2019, Nakaayi won the bronze medal in the event at the African Games behind Hirut Meshesha and Rababe Arafi.

The following month, she became the world 800 m champion in Doha, Qatar, improving her own Ugandan record to 1m 58.04s. She held off Raevyn Rogers, who made a late surge to claim silver in 1:58.18, while Ajeé Wilson finished third in 1:58.84. Nakaayi was joined in the final by compatriot Winnie Nanyondo in fourth.

After suffering a knee problem she reached only the semifinals at the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics with her time of 2:04.44 (2:00.92 in the heats).


Nakaayi competed in four 800m events of the World Indoor Tour and improved her Ugandan indoor record three times.

 Racing in Karlsruhe, Val-de-Reuil, Liévin, and Toruń, she finished in positions 1–1–2–2 respectively, with bests of 1:58.58 (Liévin, lost by 0.12s to Natoya Goule) and 1:59.55 set in France.

 She placed second in Toruń in a triple blanket finish with her time of 2:00.19 equalled by Ethiopia’s 19-year-old Tigist Girma, and both behind Catriona Bisset who was 0.03 seconds quicker (photo finish).

In March, Nakaayi won the bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships held in Belgrade in a time of 2:00.66, behind Wilson (1:59.09) and Ethiopia’s Freweyni Hailu (2:00.54), who overtook Nakaayi just before the finish line. She won comfortably, however, with both Goule (4th) and Bisset (5th).

At the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon in July, she didn’t make it to the final after finishing eighth in her semifinal in a time of 2:01.05. The next month, Nakaayi placed eighth in her specialist event at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Personal bests

  • 400 metres – 53.02 (Kampala 2017)
  • 800 metres – 1:57.56 (Los Angeles 2024) NR
    • 800 metres indoor – 1:58.58 (Liévin 2022) NR
  • 1000 metres – 2:32.12 (Monaco 2020) NR

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