Burkina Faso’s Hugues Fabrice Zango wins gold medal after competing in the men’s triple jump final during the World Athletics Championships at the National Athletics Centre in Budapest on August 21, 2023. Arpad Kurucz / Anadolu Agency (Photo by Arpad Kurucz / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu Agency via AFP)
(AFP) – Hugues Fabrice Zango gave Burkina Faso their first global athletics title when he won men’s triple jump world gold in Budapest on Monday.
The 30-year-old won with a best effort of 17.64m to add gold to his world silver last year and Olympic bronze in 2021, which was the west African nation’s first ever Olympic medal.
“Look at my big, big, big smiling mouth,” he 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 promised to make history and I did it tonight. That is the first gold medal in men’s triple jump, not only for my country, but for Africa as well.
“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.”
Zango said he was proud to produce positive headlines about his country which has been rocked by unrest in recent weeks.
“We have some troubles in our country now and it is an incredible mission to bring some positive emotions to them,” Zango said.
Two Cubans filled the minor medals positions, with Lazaro Martinez leaping 17.41m and Cristian Napoles a centimetre behind.
Veteran American Will Claye finished seventh in the 32-year-old two-time silver medallist’s seventh and final world championships.
Zango‘s path to glory had become a lot easier in the first round.
Jamaican prodigy Jaydon Hibbert’s hopes of winning world championship triple jump gold ended in agony as he pulled up with a sore right hamstring.
The 18-year-old, the world leader in the event this year with 17.87m coming into the championships in Budapest, received treatment in the stadium.
However, Hibbert conceded defeat and packed his bag as his rivals performed their third jump.
Hibbert was favoured to win after defending champion Pedro Pichardo of Portugal withdrew before the championships.
© Agence France-Presse