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Vénuste Niyongabo

Full name: Vénuste Niyongabo
Gender: Male
Height: 5-9 (176 cm)
Weight: 132 lbs (60 kg)
Born: December 9, 1973 in Vugizo, Makamba, Burundi
Country: BDI Burundi
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)

Biography

At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Vénuste Niyongabo became the first Olympic champion from Burundi, when he won the 5,000 metres. Remarkably, he was better known as a 1,500 metre runner, and had only competed twice before in that event. Niyongabo came to international attention when he won silver in the 1,500 m at the 1992 World Junior Championships. He competed at the 1993 World Championships, but did not make the final, although he soon became one of the world’s top 1,500 m runners, winning several major invitationals in 1994 and 1995, in addition to a bronze medal at the 1995 World Championships, behind fellow Africans [Noureddine Morceli] and [Hicham El Guerrouj].

At the 1996 Olympics, Niyongabo was considered a potential gold medal winner in the 1,500, but forfeited his spot to teammate [Dieudonné Kwizera] and elected to contest the 5,000 m. After the Atlanta Olympics, Niyongabo struggled with injuries, and never again reached those levels. He competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, but placed only 15th in his semi-final. After retiring from competition, Niyongabo worked for the Ekin division of Nike, Inc. in Italy.

Personal Best: 5000 – 13:03.29 (1996).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1996 Summer 22 Atlanta Athletics Men's 5,000 metres Burundi BDI 1 Gold
2000 Summer 26 Sydney Athletics Men's 5,000 metres Burundi BDI 15 h2 r1/2

Men's 5,000 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(A)
1996 Summer 22 Atlanta Athletics Burundi Final 1 13:07.96
1996 Summer 22 Atlanta Athletics Burundi Semi-Finals Heat Two 2 QU 14:03.48
1996 Summer 22 Atlanta Athletics Burundi Round One Heat Three 3 QU 13:54.53
2000 Summer 26 Sydney Athletics Burundi Round One Heat Two 15 13:49.57
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