Uganda: Tokyo Olympics - Chemutai's Chance

Uganda's quest for her first-ever Olympic medal from a female participant gathered momentum when 13 ladies secured competition slots at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

The debate got illuminated further after that tally beat the men for the first time at an Olympics edition since the country's debut at the Melbourne 1956 Games.

With world 800m champion Halimah Nakaayi out, the hope is down to Peruth Chemutai. The 22-year-old is counting her chances for the podium when she lines-up for the women's 3000m steeplechase final at Japan's National Stadium today.

She impressed with smoothness over the barriers enroute to second place in Heat 1 with a season best time of nine minutes and 12.72 seconds on Monday. "My body is feeling good," she said after. This is only the second time that Chemutai is featuring in a final over the water-jump race at a major championship. Two years ago, she finished in a very respectable fifth place at the Doha World Championships in Qatar.

Lower her PB

With a personal best of 9:07.94 which is also the national record, Chemutai may need to lower it if she is to enter the medal bracket in Tokyo. "Running the race of her life and at the finish line we will see what kind of a result it is giving," her coach Addy Ruiter said of his expectations from Chemutai. The conditions of Tokyo are similar to those in Doha; very humid with high temperatures. The Qataris installed cooling fans near the track but those have not been talked of in Tokyo.

If her body responds superbly like it did amidst the beaming temperatures of Monday, Chemutai then must counter some big challengers in the strong 16-man field.

Her medal target is threatened by first, the in-form Kenyan Hyvin Kiyeng who picked silver at the Rio 2016 Games in Brazil.

Then, world record holder and champion Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech will need to click if she is to overcome her medal miss after fourth place back in Rio.

American Emma Coburn, who won silver in Doha and bronze in Rio, is ranked world number three and her counterpart Courtney Frerichs as well can't be overlooked.

Elite rivals

Both world number four German Felicitas Krause and number five Bahraini Winfred Yavi are equally intent. Prior to this anticipated seven-and-a-half-lap final, Winnie Nanyondo will return to action for the women's 1500m semi-final Heat 2 in quest for a place in Friday's final.

Nanyondo, who missed the 800m final last Saturday, must finish among the top five in the Heat or secure a slot among the next fastest two across both Heats to advance.

Her Heat has world number four Briton Laura Muir and Dutch girl Sifan Hassan who is eyeing a rare track Olympic treble over the 1500m, 5000m and 10000m.

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