Halimah Nakaayi wins the women's 800m at the 2019 IAAF World Championships

Ugandan runner Halima Nakaayi has praised Joshua Cheptegei for his positive influence on her career as she prepares for the Tokyo Olympics.

The games get underway on 23 July and extend to 8 August this year at the Japan National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.

Despite having a challenging 2020, severely blighted by the Coronavirus pandemic, training partner Cheptegei has been supportive to Nakaayi, the former revealed to World Athletics.

“What Joshua achieved in 2020 (three world records) has been a great motivation,” she said in an interview. “Training with him and sharing the same coach has given me great belief that I can achieve a lot more in the future.

“Through hard training and determination he has showed us all that anything is possible. I have learned a lot from him. He is always there to guide me.”

Joshua Cheptegei after breaking the 10,000M World Record Credit: NN Running Team

Nakaayi adds that two years ago, Cheptegei improved her confidence when she won the 800m race in 2:01:93 at the Bislett Games, Bislett Stadion, Oslo.

“I was not always the most confident athlete but after I won at the Oslo Diamond League (in June 2019) he talked to me and gave me belief. Winning in Oslo opened my eyes to the future possibilities that one day I could become a world champion.”

Nakaayi heads to the Olympics this year with a goal of replicating her 2019 Gold medal show at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha when she posted 1:58:04, a national record.

Deputy Editor at Kawowo Sports. He is an aspiring Sport Psychologist.

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