Burkina Faso’s Hugues Fabrice Zango made history on Thursday as he claimed his country’s first-ever Olympic medal in the men’s triple jump.
The 28-year-old, who also won bronze at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, jumped 17.47 meters to claim third spot on the podium.
Pedro Pichardo of Portugal won gold with a jump of 17.98 meters to claim his first Olympic title, while China’s Zhu Yaming took silver at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium with 17.57.
Cuban-born Pichardo recorded his victory distance in his third attempt to win his first Olympic title. He previously won a silver medal at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships while representing Cuba.
Zango’s historic win came on the same day as his country’s 61st independence anniversary.
On Twitter, President Roc Marc Kabore described his win as a ‘national pride’.
Je viens de suivre de bout en bout la magnifique performance de notre grand champion @HuguesZango_TS qui offre au Burkina Faso sa première médaille Olympique.
Merci Hugues pour cette médaille de bronze. Nous sommes tous fiers de toi. RK #TokyoOlympics2021 #Triplesaut
— Roch KABORE (@rochkaborepf) August 5, 2021
Zango’s first Olympic outing was at the Rio Games five years ago.
He had to juggle his busy school schedule to train for the Tokyo Olympics in southwest France, where he’s an engineering university student.
Before Thursday’s final, Zango was targeting the gold medal in an effort to make history.
‘I’m on a mission, so I have to produce my best to bring back the gold to Burkina Faso,’ he said.
On the empty stadium, the triple jumper said: ‘AIl sportspeople like to celebrate victory or accept defeat with the public, but we try to be as professional as we can. We will try to produce our best.’
And with Zango’s medal for Burkina Faso, the African nation become the 100th country to win a medal in athletics at the Olympic Games.