Francine Niyonsaba has had an incredible season in 2021. She then ran 30:41.93 for the 10,000m, taking fifth in the Olympic 10,000m final.
Her move from the 800m to the 5,000m was extraordinary. On May 22, 2021, in Spain, at the Jean Pariso meeting, Francine ran 15:12.08, just over the 15:10 Olympic qualifier. On June 1, in Montreul, France, Niyonsaba ran 14:54.38, running just over 16 seconds below the Olympic standard. A fine qualifying round in Tokyo, where she finished in top 6 was nullified by a DQ on a lane violation. She then ran 30:41.93 for the 10,000m, taking fifth in the Olympic 10,000m final.
Since then, Francine Niyonsaba has been on fire! Her 9:00.75 for 2 miles, a seldom run distance, was a Burundian NR, as she took out a world class field, including Letesenbet Gidey in Eugene, Oregon at the Nike Pre Classic.
In Paris, Francine ran 8:19.08, a screamingly fast time for the 3000m, again, an NR and WL. In Brussels, Ms. Niyonsaba ran a fast 14:25.34 NR, and one week later, she won the 5000m in the Zurich DL in 14:28.98!
And how does she end the season? With a tough WR at 2000m in Zagreb!
Francine Niyonsaba broke the world 2000m record at the Boris Hanzekovic Memorial, clocking 5:21.56* at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Zagreb on Tuesday (14).
The Burundian, who last week won the Wanda Diamond League title at 5000m, followed the pacemakers for the first three laps, passing through 400m in 1:04.50 and 800m in 2:09.22. The half-way point was reached in 2:41.37, putting Niyonsaba and Ethiopian rival Freweyni Hailu on pace to break the world record of 5:23.75, set indoors by Genzebe Dibaba in 2017.
Niyonsaba went through the bell in 4:20.23, meaning she needed a final lap of about 63 seconds to claim the world record. Hailu tried to move into the lead on the back straight, but Niyonsaba kept her at bay and then kicked for home, eventually crossing the line in 5:21.56 to win by more than four seconds.
Hailu finished second in 5:25.86, the third-fastest outdoor time in history. Before today, the fastest ever outdoor clocking for the distance was Sonia O’Sullivan’s 5:25.36 from 1994.
*Subject to the usual ratification procedure