The runner to observe was in Lane 2, and she or he was arduous to overlook: Jolien Boumkwo of Belgium was a head taller and heavier than each different lady within the second warmth of the 100-meter hurdles.
Boumkwo repeatedly competes in monitor and subject’s energy occasions — the shot-put, hammer throw and discus — however on Saturday on the European Workforce Championships in Krakow, Poland, Belgium wanted a hurdler. Any hurdler.
The 2 it had dropped at the meet have been injured, and if Belgium didn’t ship a runner to the beginning line within the 100 hurdles, its group would have been disqualified.
So Boumkwo agreed to run. Kind of.
Boumkwo beamed and waved to the tv cameras when she was launched with the remainder of the runners.
Type was not her precedence. Neither was velocity. “My group is a very powerful factor for me,” stated Boumkwo, 29, who had completed seventh within the shot-put on Friday.
She knew Belgium wanted each level. Its group hoped to remain within the prime division of the European Workforce Championships, an occasion wherein nations compete in opposition to their relative friends in three leagues which can be primarily based on efficiency. Disqualification would almost definitely imply demotion for Belgium. Working, even when she completed final, would imply two helpful factors, which she knew would possibly make the distinction.
“I couldn’t let it occur to lose by one level,” she advised Agence France-Presse. “That’s why I thought-about collaborating.
“There was no danger for me if I took it calmly.”
And so, for one afternoon, Boumkwo turned a hurdler. Stepping fairly than leaping over every hurdle, after which jogging to the subsequent one, she took her time. The remainder of the sphere was already over their second hurdle and sprinting towards the subsequent when Boumkwo lifted her foot ever-so-carefully over the primary one.
Her objective was to complete, and to complete on her ft, nevertheless lengthy it took. An embarrassing fall in all probability wouldn’t have made a distinction — she knew she was going to be final — however an harm undoubtedly would have made issues worse. Rigorously and calmly, she cleared each impediment and crossed the end line in 32.81 seconds.
The gang cheered in appreciation. A fellow runner, Maja Maunsbach of Sweden, greeted Boumkwo simply previous the road with a double-handed excessive 5. Catarina Queiros of Portugal, who had run within the lane subsequent to Boumkwo, prolonged a hand of congratulations.
Each Maunsbach, who was seventh, and Queiros, who was sixth, had completed fractions of a second behind the warmth’s winner, Teresa Errandonea of Spain, who gained in 13.22 seconds.
The storybook ending for Boumkwo and Belgium, nevertheless, was to not be. Belgium completed 14th within the group standings, 6.5 factors behind Greece — a spot too giant for even Boumkwo to make up — and was demoted to Division 2.