Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba Picks First Trophy In Zurich

Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba has become the first champion to pick a trophy at this year’s World Athletics finals in Zurich.

The Burundian athlete outkicked world leader, Hellen Obiri of Kenya in the women’s 5,000m on the oversized, 550-metre track to cross the line in 14:28.98. Obiri was close behind her in 14:29.68 and Ejgayehu Taye of Ethiopia took third place in 14:30.30.

Canada’s Kate Van Buskirk paced the race, leading the group through the first 1,000m in 2:49.49, stepping off to allow the leaders to take over about 500m later.

Speaking at the press conference before the race, Niyonsaba said she kept competing after her enforced switch to longer distances to “make sport a better place and inspire others”.

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The 28 years old is one of several athletes banned from competing between 400m and 1500m because of naturally high levels of testosterone.

A world and Olympic silver medal winner over 800m, Niyonsaba is the fourth fastest woman this year over 5,000m.

She finished fifth in the 10,000m final in Tokyo after she was unfortunately disqualified from her 5,000m heat for a lane infringement.

She becomes the fifth-fastest woman of all time over 3,000m in Paris at the end of August and beat Kenyan world champion Hellen Obiri over 5,000m last week in Brussels.

Kenya’s Obiri who finished second behind Niyonsaba in a post-race interview in Zurich said she was not disappointed to finish second to Niyonsaba, and in fact, she was quite happy with how her race went.

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