Tag Archives: Francine Niyonsaba

Francine Niyonsaba withdraws from World Championships

Olympics games 800m silver medallist, Francine Niyonsaba has withdrawn from the World Athletics Championships that will be held from this week in Portland, Oregon.

Niyonsaba withdrew from the championship with a foot injury on Monday, just when she looked to be a good bet for her first major medal in the 5,000m after being forced to switch to long-distance events by the contentious testosterone rules.

The 29 year-old said on Instagram she had signs of a stress fracture a month ago, and although she was almost fully recovered, she missed too much training. She said she was “extremely sorry” to withdraw.

The 2016 World Indoor 800m champion finished fifth in the 10,000m final in Tokyo and was set to double in 5,000m and 10,000m at the worlds in Eugene, Oregon.


Caster Semenya slams African athletics leaders

Two-time Olympic and three-time world champion Caster Semenya has branded leaders in African athletics “cowards” for failing to stand up and fight for female athletes who are facing eligibility issues.

The 31-year-old is barred from competing in her preferred 800m race by World Athletics’ differences of sexual development (DSD) rules introduced in 2019.

Athletes with high testosterone are required to medically lower their levels in order to compete in events between 400m and 1500m.

“I think that, in this day, we have coward leaders,” Semenya said.

“In this continent, people are quiet. I don’t know why they’re quiet. They’re not fighting for their own athletes.

“You have got to show up and work, fight for your athletes, and then African athletics will be great. At this moment it’s disappointing.”

When asked by BBC Sport Africa about Semenya’s comments and whether African athletics leadership has done enough for its athletes, Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) president Malboum Kalkaba said: “Sorry, I do not have an answer”.

Similar cases across continent

Several other African athletes have been affected by the DSD rules, including Burundi’s Olympic silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and her fellow 800m runner Margaret Wambui of Kenya.

Last year, two Namibian teenagers, Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, were forced to step down from the 400m weeks before the Tokyo Olympics after they were informed of their elevated testosterone levels.

Both Mboma and Masilingi ended up competing in the 200m in Japan, with Mboma winning historic Olympic silver for her country.

However, Semenya, who now competes over 5000m, has questioned African leadership’s handling of the teenagers’ situation as well as its relative “silence” on the DSD matter in general.

“When I was 18, I couldn’t speak up,” the South African said. “Now I’m mature enough, I can speak.

“Imagine what was going on through those kids’ minds. They can’t do anything, but the leaders are just sitting out there enjoying the privileges, being in the boardrooms.”

CAA director general Lamine Faty said Semenya “has the right to express her sentiments” and that concerns over DSD rules were raised by the organisation a “long time ago” and were discussed again recently at a CAA council meeting in Mauritius.

A debate about eligibility in women’s sports has been heating up, with the recent focus being on the status of transgender athletes.

Last week, World Athletics president Seb Coe hinted his organisation could follow swimming in banning transgender women from elite female competitions, insisting “fairness is non-negotiable”.

“We continue to study, research and contribute to the growing body of evidence that testosterone is a key determinant in performance, and have scheduled a discussion on our regulations with our council at the end of the year,” he told BBC Sport.

‘We are never going to stop fighting’

Champion over 800m at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, Semenya has previously challenged World Athletics’ rules but lost her case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2019.

She then lost an appeal and was defeated at Switzerland’s Federal Supreme Court a year later, before going to the European Court of Human Rights where her case has yet to be heard.

“We are never going to stop fighting,” she said.

“At the moment it is not about me, it’s about the young kids that are coming up now that are going to face the same problem.

“There are a lot of kids that want to compete in 400m, in 800m and in 1500m, but they cannot be included.

“They say sport is for all, but at the moment it’s not for all.”

World Athletics may bar transgender women from female competition

The World Athletics president, Sebastian Coe, has hailed swimming’s decision to ban transgender women from elite female competition as in “the best interests of its sport” – and hinted that track and field could soon follow suit.

Lord Coe was in Budapest on Sunday as swimming’s governing body, Fina, voted to bar from women’s events trans athletes who have experienced any part of male puberty. Within 24 hours he announced that the World Athletics council would also be reviewing its transgender and DSD (differences in sex development) athletes policies at the end of the year.

“My responsibility is to protect the integrity of women’s sport. We take that very seriously and, if it means that we have to make adjustments to protocols going forward, we will,” Coe said. “And I’ve always made it clear: if we ever get pushed into a corner to that point where we’re making a judgment about fairness or inclusion, I will always fall down on the side of fairness.”

Under World Athletics rules transgender women can compete in the female category provided they suppress their testosterone to below 5nmol/L for 12 months. That rule was also followed by Fina until Sunday, when it changed its regulations after scientific evidence showed trans women retain an advantage even after reducing testosterone.

When asked what he made of Fina’s new policy, Coe was clear. “We see an international federation asserting its primacy in setting rules, regulations and policies that are in the best interest of its sport,” he said. “This is as it should be. We have always believed, and repeated constantly, that biology trumps gender and we will continue to review our regulations in line with this.”

As things stand there are no elite‑level trans track and field athletes, although CeCé Telfer became the first openly transgender person to win an NCAA title in 2019 in the women’s 400m hurdles.

Any toughening of the rules will also affect DSD athletes such as the double Olympic and three-times world championship 800m gold medallist Caster Semenya, the 200m silver medallist from Tokyo 2020 Christine Mboma and Francine Niyonsaba, who won the women’s 5,000m Diamond League final last year.

DSD athletes – who have male testes but do not produce enough of the hormone Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), critical for the formation of male external genitalia – have proved a hugely controversial area for athletics.

In 2019 World Athletics went to the court of arbitration for sport to stop DSD athletes running internationally at events between 400m and a mile, unless they take medication to reduce their testosterone levels. They can, however, run in other events. Cas ruled that 46 XY DSD athletes “enjoy a significant sporting advantage … over 46 XX athletes without such DSD” due to biology.

There has been a great deal of sympathy for athletes such as Semenya, who have been raised as women from a young age and want to compete as one, and any changes to World Athletics’ DSD policy would reignite the controversy.

When asked whether the governing body would consider adopting a similar policy to Fina, Coe said: “We have always said our regulations in this area are a living document, specific to our sport and we will follow the science.

“We continue to study, research and contribute to the growing body of evidence that testosterone is a key determinator in performance and have scheduled a discussion on our DSD and transgender regulations with our council at the end of the year.”

Where to watch Oslo Diamond League

The meeting will be streamed in a number of territories on the Wanda Diamond League YouTube page from 20:00 local time (GMT +2).

To find out where the meeting may be broadcast in your country, check the list below. If your country does not appear on the list, please check local listings. The list is subject to change, and some broadcasters may only show highlights coverage, while others will show the meeting live. Please check your local listings to find out more information.

Territories Broadcaster
Africa: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Reunion, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Socotra, South Africa, St. Helena and Ascension, Swaziland, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Zanzibar, Algeria, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Mayotte, Morocco, Saint Helena, Somalia, Togo, Tunisia, Western Sahara Supersport (English) / Canal+ (French)
Argentina TeleRed
Australia Fox Sports
Baltics: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania TV3 (SIA)
Balkans: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia Sportklub
Belgium VRT
Brazil Globo / Newco – Band Sport
Bulgaria A1 – Sport Max
Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba), Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States Virgin Islands Flow Sports
China CCTV
Czech Republic Ceska Televize
Denmark NENT
Finland MTV
France / Monaco Sportall / AthleTV
Germany Sky Deutschland
Greece / Cyprus TAF / ERT
India Viacom 18
Israel Charlton
Italy and the Vatican City Sky / Rai
Hungary MTVA
Macau TDM
Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic Sky Mexico
Netherlands Ziggo Sports / NOS
New Zealand Spark
Norway NRK
Poland Polsat
Portugal Sport TV Portugal
Singapore Starhub
South Korea KBS
Slovakia RTV
Spain Movistar
Sweden C More-TV4 / SVT
Switzerland SRG
Thailand Cineplex / Mono
Turkey Ssport
United Kingdom, Guernsey, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man- audio BBC Service overseas BBC
Ukraine Sentana
USA NBC Sports
Vietnam SCTV
Bhutan, Bolivia, Chile, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Mongolia, Myanmar, North Korea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Venezuela Wanda Diamond League YouTube / Facebook

Mercy Cherono to battle Francine Niyonsaba in Oslo

The 2013 World silver medallist, Mercy Cherono has been lined up against a star studded field at the sixth Wanda Diamond League meeting of the season in Oslo on Thursday.

The 31 year-old who is also the 2014 commonwealth Games champion will battle for honors with the Diamond League title holder and the inform Francine Niyonsaba, who was the first athlete to be identified as having DSD to officially break a world record when clocking 5:21.26 for 2000m to take over two seconds from the former mark. Niyosaba comes to this race carrying the season opener title from Doha.

The back to back winners in Birmingham and Eugene, Dayit Seyaum and Ejgayehu Taye from Ethiopia have also been lined up to face Cherono.

Cherono who made her statement known in Rabat after picking up her first Diamond League victory since 2015, will have an uphill task as she will also face the Tokyo bronze medallist Gudaf Tsegay, the 2018 European silver medallist and the Scottish record holder Eilish McColgan and the 2016 European 10,000m bronze medllist, Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal, who will also be running on home soil.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen Eyes Mile Glory in Oslo

Jakob Ingebrigtsen will be out to deliver for the home crowd when he lines up in a stellar men’s mile field at the sixth Wanda Diamond League meeting of the season in Oslo on June 16th.

Ingebrigtsen will take on the likes of Spain’s Mohammed Katir, Australia’s Stewart McSweyn and Kenya’s Abel Kipsang in the showpiece event at Oslo’s Bislett Games.

Though there is a long tradition of world class milers shining in Oslo, none of the Ingebrigtsen brothers have ever won the event at their home stadium. As reigning Olympic and European champion in the men’s 1500m, Ingebrigtsen is best placed to change that this month.

HIs older brother Henrik, meanwhile, is set to compete in a strong men’s 5000m field against the likes of Getnet Wale, Jacob Kiplimo and 1500m world indoor champion Samuel Tefera.

The women’s 5000m also promises fireworks, as reigning Diamond League champion Francine Niyonsaba takes on Britain’s Eilish McColgan, Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen and home hero Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal.

Source: diamondleague.com

Francine Niyonsaba beats Faith Kipyegon in Doha

Rio Olympics games 800m silver medallist, Francine Niyonsaba ran a world leading time in women 3000m race at the Doha Diamond League Meeting that is being held this evening (Friday 13) in Doha, Qatar.

The 2017 World silver medallist champion came to this race with a life time best of 8:19.08 that she got in Paris meeting last year.

The 29 year-old beat the double Olympic Games 1,500m champion, Faith Kipyegon when she crossed the line in a world leading time of 8:37.70.

Kipyegon, the 2017 world 1500m champion came home in second in a season best of 8:38.05.

Australia’s Jessica Hull closed the first three podium finishes in a time of 8:40.98

Francine Niyonsaba’s reinvention as a world-beating distance runner

With her performances in 2021, the Burundi has impressively moved up from 800m to longer distances.

But will her record-breaking feats accelerate change which could end her career? The message dropped into my email inbox. My request to interview Francine Niyonsaba had been approved, but with one condition – I was not allowed to ask her about the increasingly hot topic of differences in sex development (DSD).

We might not have spoken about the subject directly, but it never felt far away during the conversation and there has barely been a performance from the Burundian this year which has gone by without a related comment being made.

That is because those performances have been so good. She became the first athlete who identifies as having DSD to officially break a world record when clocking 5:21.26 for 2000m to take over two seconds from the former mark.

It ended a season of high achievement which included the 5000m Diamond League title and the fifth-fastest 3000m time in history. Not bad for someone who is pretty new to the distance running game.

Francine Niyonsaba leads Ejgayehu Taye (Diamond League AG)

That she is running further, of course, is not through choice. The two-time world indoor champion as well as Olympic and world silver medallist for 800m can no longer compete at her favoured event under the World Athletics rules, upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which came into force in 2019 and were famously challenged by Caster Semenya.

They decree that DSD athletes are not allowed to compete internationally between 400m and a mile unless they take medication to reduce their high levels of testosterone.

Niyonsaba’s performances – she was also fifth in the Olympic 10,000m final in Tokyo in what was just her second time racing the distance – and those of the Olympic silver medal-winning, world junior record-breaking sprinter Christine Mboma over 200m have raised questions as to whether or not the rules should widen out to other events. As Sean Ingle of The Guardian wrote, those athletes are “faced with a devilish catch-22.

The faster she [Mboma] runs, the more she provides evidence that she has an unfair advantage as an athlete with DSD”. Understandably, Niyonsaba does not want to fuel any fire but, at the same time, she is very clearly making a point. “They tried to stop me.

Tried to end my dreams,” she tweeted after her 5000m Diamond League victory in Zurich. “But how could I allow them to snatch my dreams away? So I worked hard and resisted those forces who tried to stop me. And here I am!” Speaking with her, there is an apparent determination rather than bitterness. A preference to accentuate the positive.

Asked if she would like to return to the 800m, Niyonsaba is short and to the point. “I would never go back. I keep looking forward.”

Francine Niyonsaba wins the 2018 world indoor 800m (Mark Shearman)

Even when quizzed as to the two-lap performance (and there have been many) of which she is most proud, the 28-year-old replies: “I have forgotten about the 800m because I am now focusing on the longer distances.

“Since I was born I have not had an easy life and I love challenges. I face them with a lot of determination and perseverance. To transform myself from 800m to longer distances was not easy. “I think life is full of challenges but I always say that the challenge is not a barrier but an opportunity to do better.

I still do not know if I like the long distance more than the 800m, but I love challenges. “I won’t think too much about it because it is what it is. At first it was not easy and I got a lot of injuries but I kept believing in myself.”

She adds: “I don’t know [if I will be better at 5000m or 10,000m] but I just love running long distances. Every moment I’m racing, or training, I just love running and I’m happy doing what I do. I am going to keep training hard, trying to perform well.

The good thing about it is that I have a lot to improve – I’m still learning and am sure that I can go a lot faster in the future.”

Francine Niyonsaba (Getty)

Having spent much of her career based in Oregon, Niyonsaba has now relocated to train in Kenya “because Kenyans are often champions in the longer distance”.

There is excitement about returning to the west coast of America for next year’s World Championships. “Eugene will feel like home,” she says. “To be back in Eugene for the World Championship would be fantastic for me and I hope I will be there.”

World Athletics president Seb Coe insists the DSD rules are “here to stay”. But will they have changed by the time Oregon comes around? What’s for certain is that this is an issue which is not going away any time soon.

Source: athleticsweekly.com

World records for Ruth Chepngetich and Francine Niyonsaba Ratified

Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich Women’s world half marathon record and Francine Niyonsaba from Burudi 2000m record have been ratified by World Athletics.

Chepngetich got the Half marathon record of 1:04.02 at this years Istanbul Half Marathon while Niyonsaba got the 2000m women record of 5:21.56 at the Continental Tour Gold meeting in Zagreb on 14 September.


Francine Niyonsaba lands Home and brings Bujumbura to a stand still

Hundreds of Burundians turned up at Bujumbura airport on Wednesday to welcome home Francine Niyonsaba after her recent successes overseas. The Burundian athlete won the 5,000 metres Diamond League title in Zurich on 8 September before setting a new 2,000m world record six days later at a meeting in Croatia.

Earlier this year, Niyonsaba, a world and Olympic 800m silver medallist, switched away from her preferred distance after being banned from competing between 400m and 1500m because of naturally high levels of testosterone.

“I did the extraordinary, and I now feel like an extraordinary person in the world,” the 28-year-old told reporters after landing.

“It is the first time that this cup (Diamond League trophy) has come to Burundi and now a Burundian woman is the fastest in the world over 2,000m – it is a blessing for my family and my country.”

Her success came after a disappointing Olympics where she was fifth in the 10,000m and disqualified from the heats of the 5,000m for stepping off the track.

The crowds of people lined the streets despite recent attacks, which have been claimed by rebels, on the airport in the Burundian capital and deadly grenade attacks in the city on Monday.

“I am very happy – it is a blessing to be welcomed by different people,” she said. “It is a joy that I can’t explain also because when I won, I saw all Burundians in the country and abroad celebrating my victory.

“That gives me power and happiness to feel that I managed the extraordinary. I am grateful to all who supported me, the coaches in Burundi and in Kenya where I train. They all played a role in writing this history.”

She promised to work harder to bring home a title from next year’s World Athletics Championship in the United States “to make Burundians happy again.

” Under the latest World Athletics regulations, Niyonsaba is classified as having ‘Differences of Sexual Development’ – or ‘DSD’ – and has been forced to move away from the 800m after refusing to take testosterone-reducing drugs.

Her 2,000m world record of five minutes 21.56 seconds was two seconds faster than the record set by Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba indoors in 2017, while also breaking the outdoor record set by Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan in 1994.