Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Senior Yusuf Bizimana reflects on journey from London to Austin, what the future has in store

Courtesy of Texas Athletics

Four years ago, senior track and field athlete Yusuf Bizimana traveled 4,912 miles from his home in London to compete for the Longhorns. As an international athlete, he was forced to make the adjustment of growing up in London to attending university in Austin. Now that Bizimana is graduating after his final outdoor season, he is able to reflect on all the changes, successes and future opportunities that he has faced during his time in Austin.

Despite many offers from schools in the UK such as Loughborough and Oxford, Bizimana had his sights set on Texas. The combined excellence in both the athletic and academic programs especially appealed to him, and he ended up accepting his scholarship offer without ever visiting Austin.

“To be honest, I didn’t get a visit at UT or the school, so it was a blindfolded decision,” Bizimana said. “But with as much trust in obviously my faith, the coach that was recruiting me and biting the bullet. I wanted a school that resembled each other in terms of sports and academics.”

Bizimana’s decision has since paid off as he boasts numerous wins for the Texas men’s track and field program. As a sophomore, he was a part of the team that won the NCAA indoor title. Last year, he won the NCAA indoor title for the 800-meter race with a time of 1:46.02. However, Bizimana wasn’t always a runner.

“I used to play fútbol back in London,” Bizimana said. “That was my first passion.”

Playing fútbol, or soccer, was key to Bizimana’s development as a track athlete. One important aspect of Bizimana’s middle-distance running is his stamina.

“On the field, I had a lot of stamina,” Bizimana said. “So, it kind of worked really well when I transitioned to track.”

While Bizimana has been admired in Texas, London still has a place in his heart. He said he still keeps up with all his childhood friends, family and favorite sports, football and boxing. Bizimana said he also misses some aspects of the city itself.

“I can go anywhere in the world as long as I got my people with me then I feel like we’re having a great time,” Bizimana said. “But London … I miss those late-night drives in the city. You can be out in London, drive for two hours and you’re still in London”.

Despite the differences between the more laid-back Austin and the busy city of London, Bizimana has adapted well and enjoyed his time in Austin. He said he could see himself staying in Texas’ capital city post-graduation.

“Austin right now is great,” Bizimana said. “I’ve created a life here that I’ve learned to love, and it’s everything and more than I’ve ever wanted it to be.”

He has recently signed with On Performance Running, a track program that has locations in the US and is home to some of the best runners in the world. 

“There’s some opportunities for me to stay in Austin,” Bizimana said. “I’m looking into a pro career here with my track and field, but also in other states too.”

Bizimana is also training for the potential of going to the Paris Olympics this year. After that, he will be looking to become a professional runner.

“That’s the World Cup of my UT year,” Bizimana said. “From there, I’ll sign a pro contract with On Running because I’ve signed an NIL deal with them which includes me creating a relationship with them in order to go pro in the future.”

For now, Bizimana is focused on the present which holds his final outdoor season. When it comes to Bizimana’s last season, he wants to focus on enjoying each race and competition he competes in. Bizimana wants to cherish his last practices, meets and time spent with teammates. 

“It’s like it was a dream at one point that came to reality and now it’s slow unlike the final lap,” Bizimana said. “I love representing the University of Texas and my team.”

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