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Who is Jolien Boumkwo? The Belgian Shot Putter Who Ran 100-meter Hurdles to Save Team from Disqualification

Jolien Boumkwo is a Belgian athlete who competes in shot-put, hammer throw, and 100-meter hurdles. She also belongs to Racing Gent, a well-known sports club in Ghent, and is currently rated 56 in women’s shot-put and 4279 in women’s overall ranking.

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Jolien, a Cameroonian-born Belgian athlete, has garnered international headlines with her unexpected debut in the 100-meter women’s hurdle race at the European Championship in Poland.

At the European Championship, the shot-put and hammer champion demonstrated true team spirit by filling in for injured teammates. Jolien performed the 100-meter hurdle race instead of her scheduled events in the tournament to rescue her team from disqualification after two of her colleagues pulled out due to injuries.

According to Reuters, if no Belgian athlete had competed in the event, the team would have been disqualified. The 29-year-old Belgian athlete began the race cautiously, going over the hurdles without knocking any of them down, and finished in 32.82 seconds, 19 seconds behind the second-to-last runner. Teresa Errandonea of Spain, on the other hand, won the race in 13.22 seconds.

“I was really excited to see how many seconds or minutes I did during the race. It was less than [one minute] so I’m proud of myself,” Jolien joked after glancing at the clock to see her finish time.

At the start of the race, the Belgian-Cameroonian athlete was all smiles and danced joyously, carefully clearing all the hurdles and earning 2 points for her team. Her performance video has now gone viral, garnering accolades and appreciation.

“I was just so excited because I saw my coach and she was really smiling as well,” she said. “When I was young, it [hurdle race] was never my favorite event because it was a bit scary for me. I really like it that people are picking it up – that this is about team playership – team spirit,” she added.

The Belgian shot-putter received massive support from the audience in the arena as they cheered and applauded her.

“I was like: it would be a pity if we lose by just one point, so I will just take this on my account and just go for it and enjoy every moment,” said Jolien. “For me, that’s important as well when you’re doing sports at a high level. I checked with my coach if there were any risks for me doing it and he gave me a green light.”

“I’m really happy that this race symbolized something – the team spirit, the team playership – and that people from different situations – professionals, non-professionals, people who are not into sports – really see it and it really connects people,” she said.

Reacting to her viral video, Jolien, who has emerged as the ‘Hero’ of the European Championship, said, “In my head, it looks a bit more elegant than what I’ve seen on the video, but it could be worse as well,” she said

“I have never been this famous before … It’s really crazy. All the nice messages – it’s unbelievable. I’m really surprised … I hope that I can still enjoy this moment for a long time.”

Jolien Boumkwo was born on August 27, 1992, in Ghent, Belgium, to a Cameroonian father and a Belgian mother.


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