Belgian shot putter Jolian Bunkwo stepped out of his comfort zone onto the course to save his team from disqualification.
The 29-year-old ran the 100m hurdles at the European Athletics Team Championships in Poland on Saturday after her teammate withdrew due to injury.
“I’m only going to take one for the team,” Beomkwo said in a video interview with CTV News.
Standing at the starting line, Beomkoo stood taller than his rivals. This powerful athlete is the Belgian champion in hammer throw and shot put.
“[The 100m hurdles]were never my favorite event,” Bumkwo said. “Because I was a little scared.”
Despite his past experiences, Beomkoo smiled at the starting line, dancing and waving to the crowd, coaches and teammates.
“They gave me more confidence to just do it,” Beomkwo said.
She stepped over each gate carefully, bouncing her feet to avoid injury.
“My plan was to walk over the hurdles, but I had an adrenaline rush so I ran a little bit more,” Bumkoo said.
Her finishing time was 32.81 seconds, 19 seconds behind Spanish sprinter Teresa Erlandnea, who won in 13.22 seconds.
As hundreds of thousands of people watched videos of the smiling shot putter on social media, comments began pouring in praising the player’s selflessness and team spirit.
Bumkwo secured two points for Belgium after the race.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to prevent the country from being relegated to the lower divisions.
Bomcuo argued that the team had bad luck and wouldn’t stay with the team for long.
“Next time I’ll go up to Division 1,” she said.