Burundians gathered at the country’s main airport on Wednesday in Bujumbura to welcome back Francine Niyonsaba after a series of successful competitions in the US and Europe.
Jubilant crowds brushed off security concerns following Monday’s deadly grenade attack in the city.
Niyonsaba, carrying the 5,000m winner’s cup, said she was overwhelmed by the support.
“I did the extraordinary, and I now feel like an extraordinary person in the world”, she said.
Last week at the Continental Tour Gold in Zagreb, the 28-year-old set a world record for the 2,000m, clocking five minutes 21.56 seconds.
The time was two seconds faster than that the indoor record set by Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba.
Niyonsaba – who is an 800m Olympics silver medallist – is among several athletes banned from competing in races between 400m and 1,500m because of naturally high levels of testosterone.
At the airport people from her native eastern Ruyigi province held a board that read “people from Ruyigi welcome you and are happy, you made our country and province proud.”