Francine Niyonsaba: « My dream is to win 2020 Gold Medal”

After winning silver medal in Athletics at the 2016 summer Olympics-Women’s 800 metres at Rio, Francine Niyonsaba expects to carry out several projects.

Francine Niyonsaba, in 2016 Olympic games at Rio

Francine Niyonsaba, in 2016 Olympic games at Rio

On her holidays, Francine Niyonsaba expects to visit and sensitize youth from different localities. “I will firstly endeavor to train myself to improve my record and do better in 2020 Olympic Games,” says Niyonsaba. She states she hopes to win the gold medal lately won by Caster Semenya-the South African specialist of 800 metres. “I started being ranked seventh on the list in 2012 Olympic Games, the second in 2016 and though I don’t know what the result will be, I want to be a gold medalist in 2020”.

Niyonsaba also says she will conduct a youth sensitization campaign especially for girls to persuade them that they will become what they want to be. According to her, they must work hard to be honored if they have aims to achieve.

“Determination and courage are the best friends of the future”, she says.

She also plans to tour Ruyigi, her native province to meet with young people. “I will take this opportunity to visit the University of Ngozi as it promised to award me for my silver medal”.

For those who thought that she won much money including a silver medal, Francine Niyonsaba said: “There isn’t much money in athletics. We just win and receive something that allows us to survive with the main objective of avoiding depending on others. On the contrary, it is the country which should honor its athletes.”

For this to be achieved, she requests the government to support sportspeople. “Burundi government should adopt laws that promote athletes in Burundi for instance”, she says.

Francine Niyonsaba, 23, is the National record holder who improved 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 second 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.

The first time she set the record was in late June 2012 while narrowly winning the 2012 African Athletics Championships in 1:59.11 in what was only her third competitive race.

Francine Niyonsaba is the second medalist of the Olympic Games after twenty years of the gold medal won by Venuste Niyongabo in 1996.