EUGENE, Ore. – With her sixth sub-1:58 performance of the season, Oregon Track Club Elite’s Francine Niyonsaba placed second in the 800 meters at the 2018 African Athletics Championships in Asaba, Nigeria on August 5.
Niyonsaba, a native of Burundi, hit the tape in 1 minute, 57.97 seconds, trailing only world leader Caster Semenya, of South Africa, who claimed her 27th straight victory in an 800m final in 1:56.06. Both runners are eligible to represent Africa in the Continental Cup, Sept. 8-9, in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
The Continental Cup is held every four years and matches teams representing Africa, Asia/Pacific, Europe and the Americas.
Niyonsaba, who is nursing a sore leg, will spend the next few weeks resting and recovering so she can be ready to compete in the Diamond League final in Zurich on August 30. She is the current leader in the Diamond League standings for the women’s 800m with a total of 43 points.
“Francine is tiptoeing her way through the season before taking an extended break,” OTC Elite coach Mark Rowland said. “She wants to focus on setting up her foundation in Burundi after meeting with government officials to discuss her vision to help underserved women and children.”