Shida Leni breaks both 200m and 400m National records
In a scintillating display of front running, Ugandan track star Shida Leni broke both the long-standing 200m National Record and her own 400m National Record, at the country’s National Championships, held at Mandela National Stadium, Kampala (26 – 27 July 2019).
Justine Bayigga’s National Record of 23.46 sec had stood for 12 years (it was set in Khartoum in May 2007). On Saturday, despite running a fast heat in the morning, Shida ran 23.43 sec in the afternoon final. It was a lovely scene to see Justine (who is now a UAF official) hugging Shida, when the new record was announced.
On Saturday, Shida ran 51.47 sec, which improved her own National Record of 51.55 sec. She has now broken the National Record 7 times since February 2018 (4 times in 2018 and 3 times in 2019).
Shida has been coached since 3 August 2013 by Kevin and Sue O’Connor. Kevin commented:
“The improvement of 0.15 sec in Shida’s personal best (PB) 200m time will undoubtedly feed into strengthening her best event, the 400m. Having already qualified for September’s Doha World Championships, what is really exciting about her new 400m National Record of 51.47 sec, it that it is bringing her closer and closer to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifying time of 51.35 sec.”
“I have been asked many times what has enabled such Shida improvements. We use many methods in our coaching, but if I had to pinpoint one factor above all, it is weight-training at Kampala’s Silver Springs Hotel Gym.”
“All bodes well for the Morocco All Africa Games in late August. In my opinion, Shida should be allowed to concentrate on her better 400m event (i.e. not run in the 200m). Also journalists should be realistic in their expectations as a number of African women have faster 400m PBs than Shida. Journalists should do a thorough analysis of 400m times on the IAAF website, before making predictions of what Shida can achieve in Morocco and Doha.” Photos by Sue O’Connor