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Vénuste Niyongabo

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameVénuste•Niyongabo
Used nameVénuste•Niyongabo
Born9 December 1973 in Vugizo (BDI)
Measurements176 cm / 60 kg
NOC Burundi

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 Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1996 Summer Olympics Athletics BDI Vénuste Niyongabo
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
2000 Summer Olympics Athletics BDI Vénuste Niyongabo
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 15 h2 r1/2

Special Notes