Nikki Hiltz Talks About What it’s Like to Be Herself (Gay) in Qatar After Advancing to 1500 Semis at Worlds

Nikki Hiltz is openly gay and competing in a country where homosexuality is illegal. She advanced to the semifinals with ease on Wednesday.

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October 2, 2019

DOHA, Qatar — Like many others, Nikki Hiltz is competing on her first Worlds team for the United States at the 2019 World Athletics Championships.

She raced for the first time on Wednesday and thinks it went really well. She cruised to an automatic qualifying spot in the women’s 1500m semifinals by finishing 3rd in her heat (top 6 automatically qualified) in 4:04.00, just short of her personal best of 4:03.55.

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Like many others, Hiltz was glad to finally compete in Doha after having been here for a week.

“It felt great to be out there..the last 200 really stung, but that’s the 1500,” she said.

Then Hiltz talked about what it’s like to be herself in Doha. One difference between Hiltz and most of her competitors is she is openly gay and homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.

When asked what it has been like being gay in Qatar, she said, “In the hotel, everyone is super nice, the people who work here and are from here. I haven’t faced anything. I’m fortunate enough that this is something I can keep secret (while I’m here). With that being said, I don’t want to really keep it a secret. I spent like the first 20 years of my life in the closet and I don’t ever really want to go back there. It’s been good so far. So far, so good.”

Full post-race comments below:

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