Shot putter runs 100m hurdles but fails to avoid team's relegation
Belgian shot putter Jolien Boumkwo stepped in at the last moment to replace her injured compatriot in an event alien to her. However, Belgium were still relegated from the European Athletics Team Championships.
An ultimate display of team spirit was on show at the European Athletics Team Championships when Belgium's shot putter Jolien Boumkwo stepped in for her injured colleagues to take part in the 100m hurdles race.
While winning was never the aim for her, she finished in last spot in 32.81 seconds, in a race won by Spain’s Teresa Errandonea in 13.22sec. She was given a thunderous applause by the crowd and the other hurdlers at the finish line even though she finished in almost three times the time of the podium finishers.
Why Boumkwo ran in the hurdles was that had Belgium not fielded anyone in the event, they would have lost crucial points. And with three teams set to be relegated at the end of the 37 events, that was a chance Belgium could not take. Therefore, the unusual sight of a towering shot putter running alongside lithe hurdlers.
“My team is the most important thing for me,” said 29-year-old Boumkwo to reporters after her hurdles race.
However, on Sunday, it turned out that Boumkwo's brave effort was for nought, as Belgium finished as 14th among 16 teams in the competition, getting relegated to Divison 2.