On Saturday at the European Team Championships in Poland, one thrower’s selfless act to run the 100m hurdles kept her country in the competition. With both of Belgium’s hurdlers out due to injury, Belgium needed to have an athlete to compete in the 100m hurdles event, or they would face disqualification. shot putter Jolien Boumkwo stepped up confidently, putting in a hurdling performance for the ages.
Jolien Boumkwo 🇧🇪 is a Shot Putter!
Today, she ran the 100mH at the European Team Championships to secure 2 points for Belgium.
Safe to say her 32.81s was a PB. 💪🏾pic.twitter.com/sWNQMyCrLs
— Oluwadare (@Track_Gazette) June 24, 2023
Undeterred by the presence of actual hurdlers, Boumkwo fearlessly embraced the challenge, skillfully clearing every hurdle without a single knockdown–albeit in an ungainly manner. Her remarkable effort concluded with a personal best finishing time of 32.81 seconds, placing her only 19 seconds behind the winner, Teresa Errandonea of Spain (13.22).
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Although this was Boumkwo’s first time competing in the hurdles, she had previous track event experience. In 2010, at the Belgian U18 Combined Events Championships, she emerged victorious in the 200m section of the heptathlon, completing it in 28 seconds. Drawing upon her past experience, Boumkwo showcased her confidence before her race, smiling and waving to the camera.
Every point *does* count at the European Team Championships!
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) June 24, 2023
Why’d she run?
The reason behind Boumkwo’s participation in the 100m hurdles stemmed from the rules of the European Team Championships. Each country must have an athlete start the race, or face disqualification. Since Belgian hurdlers Anne Zagre and Hanne Claes were unable to compete, Boumkwo, representing another event, stepped up as an alternative to keep her country in the competition.
Throwers Who Run
With the women’s shot put event already concluded, Boumkwo saved her team, earning Belgium two valuable points in the standings. The 29-year-old thrower received widespread acclaim on social media and was hailed as a hero for her inspiring effort. Boumkwo finished seventh overall in the shot put in a field of 16.
Despite Boumkwo’s efforts, the Belgian team finished 14th of 16 teams and will be one of three teams regulated into European Division Two at the next European Team Championships in 2025 in Madrid.