Hugues Fabrice Zango earned Burkina Faso its first Olympic medal in history by leaping to 3rd in the men's triple jump final.
TOKYO, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Hugues Fabrice Zango made history at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday by winning bronze in the men's triple jump final, the first Olympic medal of his country Burkina Faso.
But the 28-year-old didn't seem all that happy.
"It is a pleasure for me to be the first medallist for my country in the Olympics. It is a good thing for us," he told the medalists press conference," I am a bit sad because I wasn't able to produce my best performance and this is what makes the medal not as good as I wanted."
Zango's disappointment is understandable. In January, he set a new world indoor triple jump record of 18.07 meters. But his best attempt in the final on Thursday was 17.47 meters.
Still, Zango's achievement in his career so far has been impressive enough given that he came from a country that is more fascinated by football and cycling.
In an interview with the Olympic Channel in 2020, Zango said he had started athletics "a bit by accident." In 2011, he was scouted to take part in a school competition, where he was spotted by a local coach who believed he could be a good jumper.
He started training with the coach in 2012 and in 2016 he moved to France where he continued his training.
Zango slowly built up his reputation and confidence after winning silver medals at both the 2015 World Universiade in Gwangju and at the 2016 African championships.
But Zango struggled at the 2016 Rio Olympics and at World Championship 2017, after which he began to train under Teddy Tamgho, the 2013 World champion.
In 2019, Zango made the podium at the World Championship by winning a bronze and began to set his eyes on the Olympics.
What was more amazing was that Zango's sporting dreams had gone hand-in-hand with his professional aspirations, as he is pursuing a PhD in electrical engineering.
In the 2020 interview, Zango said the academic venture partly serves as the plan after his sporting career, but he also revealed his desire back home to become one of the first local professors in technical disciplines, where are now dominated by foreign academics.
At the press conference on Thursday, Zango said he planned to finish his doctoral in electrical engineering next year. But with the Paris Olympic Games will come in three years, his academic career could wait.
"I didn't win the gold medal but I will try to push to continue training hard for the Paris Olympics to make history for my country. We have a bronze medal now we need a silver and gold one," he said.