BUJUMBURA, 8 February 2021 – Burundi’s Olympic 800m silver medalist, Francine Niyonsaba, says she will race in the 5000m race in Tokyo after a rule change keeps her out of the 400m through the 1500m.
The rule instituted in 2019 requires of athlete like her to enter only if they accept to take testosterone-suppressing measures.
The 27-year-old Burundian ran a 10km cross-country race in 33 minutes 45 seconds on Sunday, barely off the Olympic entry standard on the track set at 31 minutes, 25 seconds.
Niyonsaba has decried the rule as discriminatory.
“It’s about discrimination,” said told an Olympic Channel interview in 2019, adding: :I didn’t chose to be born like this”.
“I am created by God,” she said inviting anyone who has questions about her to “ask God”.
The three Rio Olympic 800m medalists – Caster Semenya (South Africa), Francine Niyonsaba (Burundi) and Margaret Wambui (Kenya) – are impacted by the rule instituted in 2019.
The African trio have decried the rules as discriminatory, with Semenya raising the matter before the Sports Court but posting.
The three argue that there is no such rule for male athletes.
The rule caps testosterone levels in women’s events from the 400m through the mile for athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD).
The new rule would not allow any athlete to compete with a level above the cap of five nanomoles per liter unless they had a DSD or a tumor.