halimah nakaayi biography
Halimah Nakaayi

Who is Halimah Nakaayi? Flash Uganda Media looks at her biography, age, husband, family, tribe, relationship with Winnie Nanyondo, career, the 2022 World Indoor Championships, 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games, and the early life and education of the Ugandan middle-distance runner.

Halimah Nakaayi is a middle-distance runner from Uganda specializing in the 800 metres race. 

She won the bronze medal at the 2022 World Indoor Championships and is the event’s 2019 World Champion. 

Nakaayi now holds both the indoor and outdoor records for the 800 metres as well as the 1000 metres in Uganda.

At both the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and Tokyo in 2020, she participated in the 800 metres and made it to the semifinals each time.

Early life and Education

Halima Nakaayi was born on October 16, 1994 in Seeta, Mukono, Uganda.

She graduated with a Computer Science and Information Technology degree from Kampala University. 

Career and Professional Work Experience

At the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games in Douglas, Isle of Man, Halimah Nakaayi, at 16 years old, won the 400-metre race.

She went from fifth to second place on the second 10 km leg of a marathon relay in 2012 during a festival honouring 50 years of Ugandan independence before collapsing and spending four hours in a coma.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics closing ceremony, Nakaayi carried the Ugandan flag. She finished second in her 800 m speciality event at the Islamic Solidarity Games the following year with a timing of 2:01.60. 

Nakaayi finished in second place with a time of 2:01.74 at the 2017 World Championships and was disqualified from the competition.

With a run of 1:58.90, she finished fourth at the African Championships in 2018. By just 0.04 seconds, she stopped short of Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba, and Habitam Alemu (1-3).

Following Hirut Meshesha and Rababe Arafi, Nakaayi took home the bronze medal at the 2019 African Games in August.

She improved her own Ugandan mark to 1m 58.04s the following month and won the World Champions title in Doha. 

Ajeé Wilson came in third in 1:58.84, while Raevyn Rogers took silver in 1:58.18 after a late charge. Winnie Nanyondo, a fellow countrywoman who finished fourth, joined Nakaayi in the final.

At the Denka Athletics Challenge in Japan, she finished first in the 800 metres with a time of 2.04.73, beating Ayano Shiomi, who placed second thus winning a gold medal.

With a time of 2:04.44, she finished only in the semifinals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to a knee injury (2:00.92 in the heats).

In four 800m competitions on the World Indoor Tour, Nakaayi broke the indoor record for Uganda three times. 

With personal best times of 1:58.58 (Liévin, despite losing to Natoya Goule by 0.12 seconds) and 1:59.55 (set in France), she competed in Karlsruhe, Val-de-Reuil, Liévin, and Toru where she finished in the 1st, 1st, 2nd and 2nd positions respectively. 

In Toru, she came in second place in a triple blanket finish at 2:00.19, just 0.03 seconds behind Ethiopia’s Tigist Girma, who was 19 years old.

Nakaayi won the bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March 2022 with a time of 2:00.66, finishing behind Wilson (1:59.09) and Freweyni Hailu of Ethiopia (2:00.54), who passed Nakaayi just before the finish line. With Goule (4th) and Bisset (5th) in the mix, she still won.

She didn’t go to the final at the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, in July 2022. Nakaayi was eighth in Heat 3 with a timing of 2:01.05 in a competition won by American Olympic Champion Athing Mu, who completed the two-lap course in 1:58.12. Diribe Welteji, an Ethiopian runner finished in second.

Following her previous knee injury, she also struggled but missed out on getting a place in the Tokyo Olympic finals. And in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Nakaayi finished seventh in her speciality event ending all her hopes of winning a medal in the 2022 Athletic competitions.

Achievements and Awards

halimah nakaayi

In 2011, Halimah Nakaayi won a gold medal in the 800m race during the Junior Commonwealth Games.

In the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games at Baku, Azerbaijan, she ran in the second position in the 800m race and received a Silver medal 

And then in 2019, she received a Gold medal in the 800-metre race at Doha, Qatar in the World Championships and a Bronze Medal also in the 800m race at Rabat, Morocco in the All Africa Games.

In 2022, Nakaayi received a bronze medal in the World Indoor Championships held in Belgrade, Serbia after finishing third in the 800 m race. Her personal best times include:

In outdoor games,

  • 53.02 in the 400 Metres race at Kampala, Uganda on 19th July 2017
  • 1:58.03 in the 800 Metres race at Stade Louis II, Monaco on 09th July 2021.
  • 2:32.12 in the 1000 Metres race at Stade Louis II, Monaco on 14th August 2020.
  • 4:50.53 in the One Mile race at Rovereto, Italy on 06th September 2016.
  • 3:35.03 in the 4×400 Metre Relay race at Gold Coast, Australia on 14th April 2018
  • In indoor games;
  • 1:58.58 in the 800 metres race at Arena Stade Couvert, Liévin, France on 17th February 2022.

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