Turkey’s Cuban-born sprinter Yasmani Copello Escobar claimed the bronze medal in the men’s 400m hurdles final at the Rio Olympics on Aug. 18, netting Turkey’s fourth medal at the 2016 Games.
It was also Turkey’s first Olympic medal in the men’s track competitions.
Copello crossed the finish line in 47.92 seconds, behind Kerron Clement of the United States, who powered over in a world leading time of 47.73 seconds, just ahead of Kenya’s Boniface Tumuti in 47.78.
“I think my mother is crying,” Copello told reporters after the race. “I am the younger son and I’m making her dreams come true. She will be crying a lot.”
Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson, who was among the favorites for the title, was disqualified for a false start.
“When he false-started I just said to myself: ‘Refocus,’” Clement told reporters. “The adrenaline rush just zapped him out. I tried not to let it affect me and just focus on the 10 hurdles in my lane again.”
The win for Clement came eight years after the Trinidad-born Clement won a silver medal in the 2008 Beijing Games and a gold medal in the 4x400 relay.
Clement said he had been determined to make the podium in Rio, targeting 2016 as a redemption year after problems in 2012.
“I had one goal in mind and my mindset was to come here and get a medal,” Clement told reporters.
“In 2008 I fell short and got a silver. In 2012 I was battling injuries and surgeries. I was just happy to make the finals in 2012,” added Clement, who underwent hernia and adductor muscle operations before the London Games. “Coming out here in 2016 for me was a redemption year. I’m just honored to get a gold medal.”
Also on Aug. 18, Turkey’s high hopes for a medal in taekwondo sank as defending men’s 68kg-category Olympic and world champion Servet Tazegül lost 19-6 to Alexey Denisenko of Russia
in the quarterfinals.
Twenty-year-old Ahmad Abughaush of Jordan was the surprise package of the competition, beating Denisenko in the final to claim his country’s first taekwondo gold.
Tazegül lost 5-4 to Chilean Edgar Contreras in a repechage match, missing the chance to go on the tatami for a bronze medal fight.