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Burundian Francine Niyonsaba, suffering from intersexuality, breaks the world record

The 28-year-old set a new 2,000m record at a Continental Tour Gold meeting in Zagreb, Croatia, breaking the previous record by more than two seconds. Niyonsaba finished with a time of 5: 21.26, surpassing Genzebe Dibaba’s 2017 record.

Niyonsaba, the Rio 2016 Olympic Games 800m silver medalist, is one of the athletes banned by World Athletics from competing in women’s 400m races at one mile distance because of what they consider to be the his body’s high levels of natural testosterone, his sensitivity to the hormone, and his unwillingness to undergo medical interventions to alter these characteristics.
Niyonsaba suffers from hyperandrogenism, a condition characterized by the natural production of more testosterone than unconditional women.

To compete, these athletes must lower their testosterone levels with medication or surgery, which World Athletics says is aimed at “ensuring fair competition.”

In 2019, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld World Athletics’ DSD rules when challenged by South African runner Caster Semenya. She lost a subsequent appeal and in February took her case to the European Court of Human Rights. This case is still pending.

Niyonsaba said in 2019 that requiring medical interventions from certain women in order to compete was a form of “discrimination.”

“It doesn’t make sense. Of course, I didn’t choose to be born like this. I love to run and I won’t stop running.”

Niyonsaba has had a great 2021 so far, winning the Wanda Diamond League title in the 5,000m and finishing fifth in the 10,000m at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

And in the 2,000m event – a distance that has not been run at the Olympics or the World Championships – in Zagreb, continued his excellent form, dominating the race.

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Finishing four seconds ahead of Freweyni Hailu, second with a final lap of 63 seconds, Niyonsaba became the new world distance record holder.

“I feel really wonderful. I didn’t know I could break a world record, but it was my first time here. I came here to do what I have to do,” she said. declared subsequently.

“I did. It’s wonderful and it’s fabulous. The pace was really perfect. I want to thank everyone who came to cheer us on.”


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