As we enter 2021, Uganda’s star female sprinter, Shida Leni, has one key objective on her mind and that is to qualify for the upcoming July Tokyo Olympics which is scheduled to take place on the 23 July 2021.
To do so, Shida must improve her 400m National Record (51.47 sec) by just 0.12 sec, which is equivalent to around 90cms, in order to achieve the Olympic qualifying time of 51.35 sec.
Shida Leni’s Substantial Progress
Shida, 27, has been trained for over 7 years by the husband and wife coaching team of Kevin and Sue O’Connor. In that time she has made substantial progress, breaking the 400m National Record on 7 occasions, then in 2019 the 200m National Record, as well as winning 400m Silver Medal at the World University Games in Italy, narrowly missing out on Gold. Until Shida broke them, both these National Records had stood for over a decade.
According to Kevin, Shida’s long time coach: “Provided we can keep her uninjured and in good health, I am quietly confident she can qualify for Tokyo. I have been encouraged by the large number of personal bests she has set in weight-training at Silver Springs Hotel’s Espace Gym.
She is entering 2021 stronger than she has ever been in her life. I must commend the hotel for giving her complimentary use of its wonderful gym until the Olympics. She trains there 3 times per week, as well as doing some swimming in its pool.”
Kevin adds: “is London-based Jeff Freeman and he, Covid permitting, will be setting up a racing programme for her in Europe later in 2021.”
Kevin and Sue O’Connor who have coached Leni since 3 August 2013 are very excited about her achievements so far and hope to see her achieve even greater feats in the upcoming 2021 Olympics.
“The improvement of 0.15 sec in Shida’s personal best (PB) 200m time will undoubtedly feed into strengthening her best event, the 400m,” Kevin told media back in 2019.
Uganda’s star female sprinter, Shida Leni looks forward to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics
Though Uganda’s star sprinter is ready to take on anyone at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, reports suggest that the event could be pushed to another date due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The former chief executive of the London 2012 Olympics says it is “unlikely” that the Tokyo Games will take place this summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Entrepreneur Sir Keith Mills told the BBC that organisers should now be “making plans for a cancellation”.
Apart from the bad weather that hit Japan days ago, Tokyo is currently in a state of emergency after there was a surge in coronavirus cases which proves a threat to one of the biggest sports events in the world.
Japan is due to host the Olympics in just six months time but all seems to be looking grim with the current pandemic proving a bigger problem than anticipated.
The event has faced a number of issues ever since the Covid-19 pandemic hit. It has already been subject to an unprecedented year-long postponement as a result of the crisis.
The official cost has increased by 22% to £11.5bn, with the renegotiation of contracts and more security measures adding £2.1bn to the bill.
Speaking exclusively to Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money, Sir Keith said, “I think they’ll leave it to absolutely the last minute in case the situation improves dramatically, in case the vaccinations roll out faster than we all hoped. It’s a tough call.
“Personally, sitting here looking at the pandemic around the world, it looks unlikely I have to say.
“If I was sitting in the shoes of the organising committee in Tokyo, I would be making plans for cancellation and I’m sure they have plans for a cancellation. They’ve got another month or so before they need to make a call.”
As the organising committee comes up with a final decision, we hope the event doesn’t get cancelled completely as it will be a great honour to have one of Uganda’s best sprinters take part in the prestigious event come July if she were to qualify.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.