Burkina Faso athlete makes golden leap in Glasgow

Burkina Faso athlete makes golden leap in Glasgow

Burkina Faso’s star athlete, Hugues Fabrice Zango has won a gold medal in the worldwide triple jump competition, according to The Associated Press.

The 30-year-old athlete leapt into first place at the World Athletics Indoor Championships that were held in Glasgow, by clearing a distance of 17.53 meters, on 2nd March.

BBC Sport reported in December 2023 that Mr Zango was a beacon of hope for conflict ridden Burkina Faso. As the first sportsman to receive the ‘Officer of the Order of the Stallion’ – the highest honorary distinction in Burkina Faso – Mr Zango remains to be a national inspiration.

READ: Burkina Faso Mosque attack leaves dozens dead

Mr Zango became Burkina Faso’s first Olympic medalist in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, securing a bronze medal for the triple jump event, and won the title of world champion in the outdoor triple jump in August 2023 clearing a distance of 17.64 meters in Hungary.

In December 2023, Zango was awarded his PhD in electrical engineering. He hopes that his stellar achievements will inspire Burkina Faso’s youth and make them believe that it is “possible to be the best in the world, even if you come from Burkina Faso.”

Burkina Faso has suffered political and civil unrest due to the military coups of 2022. The junta-led country was put under strict sanctions by West Africa’s economic trading bloc, known as ECOWAS as an incentive to return to civilian rule. Unlike Niger, Guinea, and Mali, Burkina Faso’s demand to leave ECOWAS was not met with the lifting of the stringent sanctions.

With France’s suspension of Burkinabe student visas and Burkina Faso’s lack of “big names in sport”, hopefully Mr Zango’s athletic and academic achievements will be enough to inspire the youth to enrich their own lives with similar accomplishments.

Mr Zango shared, “I have some friends in the army who are fighting against terrorists…They say that what I did [gave] them energy to continue the fight…I want to be a symbol of hope.”

UNICEF reported that 1 in 4 of Burkina Faso’s schools are closed due to the ongoing violence and instability. However, over 3.8 million children and thousands of teachers are defying the odds and potentially risking their lives to attend schools throughout the nation.

Although Mr Zango has gained three major accomplishments since the beginning of 2024, the esteemed athlete has shared his desires of leaving his athletic career on a high by reaching (or leaping) for Burkina Faso’s first Olympic gold medal at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.



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