In her last race of the season, Francine Niyonsaba broke the women’s world record in the 2,000m, running 5:21.56 at the Continental Tour meet in Zagreb, Croatia. Although this distance is uncommon at most track meets, her time is outstanding, as she averaged 2:40 per kilometre during the race, hitting the one-mile marker in 4:17.
Francine Niyonsaba continues to create more history for Burundi 🇧🇮
That time is the fastest ever women's 2000m indoors or outdoors. pic.twitter.com/g9acdnwkVQ
— AW (@AthleticsWeekly) September 14, 2021
This is icing on the cake for Niyonsaba, who made a transition from the 800m to distance running to compete in the Diamond League and Olympics. Remarkably, she finished fifth in the Olympic 10,000m and has won her last four races, including the Diamond League 5,000m title, where she took down race favourite Hellen Obiri of Kenya.
The previous outdoor 2,000m record was held by Irish runner Sonia O’Sullivan, who ran 5:25.36 in 1994. The indoor record, which is 5:23.75 (set by Genzebe Dibaba in 2017), was faster. Today Niyonsaba’s 5:21.56 today surpasses both records.
Canadian record holder Matt Hughes competed in the 3,000m steeplechase in Zagreb and finished fifth, in 8:28.14. Hughes caps off a personal best season, finishing sixth in the steeplechase at the Tokyo Olympics in August.