The coronavirus pandemic has some top-flight athletes struggling to stay sharp for next year’s Tokyo Olympics after training facilities were shut down and competitions cancelled. Ugandan runner Halima Nakaayi, the gold medalist in the 800 meters at the 2019 World Athletics Championships, is doing her best to prepare under the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. With the games postponed and Uganda’s gyms and stadiums closed since March to curb the spread of COVID-19, her only option is Kampala’s open roads. Stuck in Uganda and without international competitions, Nakaayi trains with other runners who are also preparing for the Tokyo Games. They are only allowed to train in small groups to abide by measures to curb the spread of the virus. Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo reacts after her women’s 800m heat at Carrara Stadium during the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, April 12, 2018. Another Ugandan runner, Winnie Nanyondo, said the lockdown and delayed Olympics has also been mentally challenging. The Diamond League is a series of top-tier athletic competitions for elite athletes. Most of the competitions have been canceled, although there is hope one might take place in Monaco this August. Uganda’s National Council of Sports admits the pandemic has posed challenges for athletes to stay fit and motivated.
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