Are you afraid of trying something latest on the gym? Get inspired by this shot putter turned temporary hurdler


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IIf you’ve ever felt anxious about getting on the squat rack, pull-up machine, battle ropes, or other heavy fitness equipment, then here’s the right sign.

Because imagine what lies ahead of you weren’t a piece of fitness equipment, but a series of literal hurdles to be overcome at incredible speed by world-class racers on all sides.

This is the Belgian shot putter Jolien Boumkwo Saturday experienced at the European Team Championships Athletics meeting in Kraków, Poland. Boumkwo is a member of the Belgian track and field team, which competes in strength events such as the shot put, hammer throw and discus throw – but not in the sprint or hurdles.

However, due to injuries, the Belgian team did not have a hurdler available for the 100m hurdles, meaning the team would lose the two points gained by competing in that event. In an athletics competition, every point counts towards the total and Belgium were hoping to do well enough in terms of total points to retain their place as a Division 1 team at the European Team Championships.

Faced with the disqualification and loss of points, Boumkwo raised his hand to step in. She would compete in the 100 meter hurdles, although that was clearly not her sport.

As seen in a video of the event, the hurdlers storm out of the gate like racehorses. Hurdlers keep their speed and make incredible jumps in the air to overcome the obstacles. And overcoming these hurdles is no easy task. They reach a size of 60 cm, which makes them a challenge to overcome at any speed.

Boumkwo also begins running at the starting gun, but when she reaches the first hurdle, she hops over it with her leg bent. She falls back immediately, but keeps going, hurdle after hurdle, until she crosses the finish line – and is greeted with “high fives” by her fellow racers.

Unfortunately, the two points Boumkwo received for participating were not enough for Team Belgium to retain their division status. Nonetheless, the story has garnered worldwide attention and gone viral. To see someone committing to the good of their team, doing something that’s outside of their expertise and comfort zone, and not doing it perfectly, but still getting it done – and on a world stage, no less – could be at appeal to anyone who has agreed to help, a colleague who is absent, has taken on a new assignment for the PTA, or has stepped in as an outfielder in a recreational kickball league.

For “hand lifters,” it may be necessary to set limits on your time and availability to maintain sanity and well-being. But every once in a while we may indulge in the heartwarming spirit of teamwork and sportsmanship on display.

Your solo training time may not be about contributing to the good of the team, but about feeling good and pushing yourself – without worrying about how you look on the outside. This is why Boumkwo could be such a fitting role model for your fitness goals and your gym inspiration. Trying it out at the gym, in the gym, or on a walk or a lap around the block isn’t about making things perfect. It’s about doing your best.

So the next time you’re wondering if you can tackle a new exercise, piece of equipment, rep or weight goal, find inspiration from Jolien Boumkwo at the gym. Imagine her overcoming these hurdles – and try.

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