Burkina Faso’s Hugues Fabrice Zango soared to victory in the men’s triple jump for the country’s first-ever World Athletics Championships gold on Monday, while 18-year-old title favourite Jaydon Hibbert of Jamaica pulled out injured.
“Look at my big, big, big smiling mouth,” Zango said. “It tells you everything. I had so many difficulties and doubts, I have been struggling a lot. I had to travel a very long way to get this gold medal.
“I am proud to be the man who keeps his word. I promised to make history and I did it tonight.”
Zango, ranked No. 2 in the world, jumped 17.64 metres on his fifth of six attempts to overtake Cuba’s Lazaro Martinez, who won silver with 17.41 after fouling on three of his attempts. Martinez edged team mate Cristian Napoles who jumped 17.40.
The world gold was the first in triple jump for any African nation, Zango pointed out.
“I cannot imagine the level of celebration in my country when I go back home but I’m going to start the celebrations in Budapest,” he said.
“We have some troubles in our country now and it is an incredible mission to bring some positive emotions to them.”
The 30-year-old Zango won his country’s first Olympic medal with bronze in Tokyo. He was the silver medallist at the 2022 worlds and third in 2019.
Hibbert, who has the best jump in the world this season - 17.87 - ran through the pit on his first attempt and clutched his hamstring.
“I planted my leg on the board and just felt a cramp in my hamstring,” Hibbert said. “I do not know why it happened because I felt great and ready during warm-up.”
He received treatment but then withdrew from the competition, receiving consolatory handshakes from the other jumpers after he tugged off his spikes.
“I had a great season, and I’m not disappointed now. I know I could fight for a medal here but the most important thing is that I gained experience at this level,” Hibbert said.
“I need to move on now, focus is on recovery and on next season. I will be OK. I will bounce back.”
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