BUJUMBURA September 30th (ABP) – Burundian athlete Francine Niyonsaba calls on young Burundians to love sport and have a strong determination to move forward, as sport requires big sacrifices. In particular, she invites girls to banish all customs that exclude or demean girls.
Based on her own experience, she urged the young women to be more involved like their brothers because, she acknowledged, they are capable. Athlete Niyonsaba said that during a press conference she hosted after her crowning of the Diamond League 5000m champion.
Regarding the current state of athletics in Burundi, the president of the national athletics federation, Mr. Dieudonné Kwizera, pointed out that this sector faces challenges of resources and infrastructure. He hoped that the state would support more those sectors, especially the construction of infrastructure more suited to athletics. According to him, many people are surprised to see Burundi’s performance in athletics on the international scene when we do not have the appropriate infrastructure for the country. In that regard, he noted that since 1988, when Burundi received its first medal until today, they do not have the necessary infrastructure for the preparation of athletes.
“If these infrastructures were available, Burundian athletes would be more efficient,” he said. “For lack of infrastructure, no athlete has reached a high level by training in Burundi, except Francine Niyonsaba”, underlined Mr. Kwizera, raising that for the athletes to be able to perform within this federation, he needs means. He said he was confident that this challenge will be overcome because the President of the Republic of Burundi, who was leader of the National Olympic Committee (NOC), knows all the realities on that subject.
As regards the means, he regretted the mismanagement which is noticeable in the allocation of the Olympic scholarships which the NOC provides for the athletes but which are not granted to them. “If the athletes received this scholarship, they could perform well and have good times,” he said. He said that to remedy that, he contacted the current the NOC chairman, Mrs. Lydia Nsekera, to have that problem resolved and that those scholarships benefit the athletes.