Francine Niyonsaba

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Francine Niyonsaba
Francine Niyonsaba Rio 2016.jpg
Niyonsaba at the 2016 Olympics
Personal information
Nationality Burundian
Born (1993-05-05) 5 May 1993 (age 25)
Nkanda Bweru, Ruyigi Province, Burundi[1]
Height 1.66 m (5 ft 5 in)[2]
Weight 60 kg (132 lb)
Sport Athletics
Event(s) 800 meters
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 800 m: 1:55.47[3]

Francine Niyonsaba (born May 5, 1993) is a Burundian runner who specializes in the 800 metres. She is a 2016 silver medalist in the 800 metres. Her silver medal was the first Olympic medal for Burundi since 1996. Niyonsaba finished second in 800 meters 7 race series of 2016 Diamond League.[4] She improved her personal best to 1:56.24 at 2016 Herculis meet.

She is the National record holder in the event, improving her own record to 1:58.67 on August 9, 2012 in the semi-final round of the Women's 800m event at the 2012 Summer Olympics. It was a 0.01 seconds improvement on her previous record. Two days later she finished seventh (subsequently upgraded to sixth as a result of Elena Arzhakova's disqualification) in the 2012 Olympic final. Less than a month later she took the record down yet again to 1:56.59.

She had a quick rise to prominence in 2012 while still a teenager. The first time she set the record was in late June 2012 while narrowly winning the 2012 African Championships in Athletics in 1:59.11 in what was only her third competitive race. At that, she improved upon her own previous national record of 2:02.13, set in the qualifying round. In the opening round race, the inexperienced runner had opened up a 30 meters lead the pack.[5]

Three weeks later on July 20, 2012, she improved the record again to 1:58.68 while finishing second at the 2012 Diamond League meeting at Herculis.[6]

Niyonsaba winning the 800m at the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships

In 2016 Niyonsaba won the 800 meters at the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships in 2:00.01. Later that year Niyonsaba carried the flag for Burundi at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. She concluded her competition with her first Olympic medal, a silver in the women's 800m in a time of 1:56.49, behind Caster Semenya of South Africa.

In 2017, Nyonsaba earned a new personal best and national record at the Monaco Diamond League after winning the 800m there in a time of 1:55.47, on July 21. With this time she was the World No. 1. heading into the 2017 World Championships in London.

At the World Championships in London she won a silver in the women's 800m in a time of 1:55.92. She led throughout the majority of the race, but Caster Semenya used her phenomenal final kick to once again pass the Burundian on the home stretch and win gold.


  1. ^ Francine Niyonsaba.
  2. ^ Francine Niyonsaba.
  3. ^ Francine Niyonsaba at IAAF
  4. ^ IAAF DIAMOND LEAGUE Zürich (SUI) 31 August - 1 September 2016 Results 800m Women[permanent dead link] Retrieved by September 1, 2016.
  5. ^ Burundian teen Niyonsaba takes dramatic 800m title as Nigeria top medal table in Porto-Novo – African champs, Day 5. (2 July 2012). Retrieved on 2016-08-19.
  6. ^ 800 m.
Olympic Games
Preceded by
Diane Nukuri
Flagbearer for  Burundi
Rio de Janeiro 2016
Succeeded by
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