Head to Head Women’s 800m - Athletix Grand Prix Series Meeting 1 in Ruimsig, Johannesburg

The Athletics South Africa Track & Field season steals the spotlight in March when it takes off with the Athletix Grand Prix Series in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Paarl.

Seen here (from left to right):  Kyle Whitehall (Liquid Telecom South Africa Chief Executive Officer), Aleck Skhosana (the president of Athletics South Africa) and Michael Meyer (Managing Director of Stillwater Sports).  Photo Credit:  Tobias Ginsberg

The first of three meetings will take place at Ruimsig Stadium, Johannesburg on Thursday, 1 March. The women’s 800m is one of many bouts to look out for on the day.

Winnie Nanyondo of Uganda looks to be the race favourite with an 800m best of 1:58.63 which she ran in Monaco in 2014. Nanyondo is the Commonwealth Games 800m bronze medallist from 2014 and with a best of 53.72sec in the 400m, Nanyondo has the fastest half lap time on the field.

Halimah Nakaayi has experienced both the World Championships (2017) and the Olympic Games (2016) and will have learned how to handle pressure situations. Her 1:59.78 is the second fastest 800m time in the field and her 53.02 PB for the 400m shows that there is good speed in her legs, even though that time was run at home in Kampala, Uganda at altitude.

Gena Löfstrand the former South African champion likes to front run and is not averse to taking the pace out upfront, something she did to great effect at the World Championships in London in 2017 in the first round. Her aggression paid off and she went through the bell in first with a 58.71sec clock.

She was passed by six other athletes, but had done enough to make sure she ran a fast enough time to get to the semi-finals. Rest assured, Löfstrand will once again take on the race hard. She could well cause a bit of an upset.

Other athletes in the field to take note of are 18-year-old Vimbayi Maisvoreva from Zimbabwe who competed at the World U18 Championships in Nairobi in 2017; Tsepang Sello from Lesotho and Liza Kellerman who as a 16-year-old ran 2:05.75 which placed her 12th in the U18 world rankings in 2016.

Just like country woman, Gena Löfstrand, Liza Kellerman likes to front run. The two could well combine to set a fast pace.

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