China’s Dong Bin leaps into athletics history books with triple jump bronze

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 August, 2016, 2:53am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 August, 2016, 4:19pm

A leap of faith resulted in Chinese triple jumper Dong Bin soaring into the history books at the Rio Olympics on Tuesday.

When he captured the bronze medal behind American duo Christian Taylor and Will Claye, Dong won China’s first-ever Olympic medal in triple jumping and only the second for a male Chinese athlete in a field event.

“I was pleased to make history with China's first medal in the event,” the 27-year-old said after the medal ceremony at the Olympic Stadium.

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“It’s very special for me because it’s the Olympics. I got my personal best which made me very happy. It's a new landscape for me. I've improved so much since coming 10th at London [2012].”

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What made Dong’s success even more remarkable was that he injured himself on his first jump of 17.58 metres and was forced to forfeit his next two jumps. But in the end, one jump was all he needed to win a medal.

“I feel surprised, but also think it’s a pity. I made the first attempt and wanted to break the Asian record, but I got injured,” said Dong.

While China has been traditionally strong in events such as swimming and gymnastics, very few athletes have excelled in track and field.

The country’s best-known track athlete is Liu Xiang, who won 110m hurdles gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The only time before Tuesday that China had won a medal in the field was way back in 1984 when Zhu Jianhua took bronze in the high jump.

WATCH: relive the action involving Hong Kong athletes on Day 10 at the Rio Olympic