Commonwealth Games Hansen versus Mbango: for the first time, Africa performed rather poorly at the Commonwealth Games. Clayton Goodwin went to see them.

Author:Goodwin, Clayton
Position:Gallery - Brief Article

A shia Hansen v Francoise Mbango in the triple jump showdown on the last day of athletics action in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester--that was the sports confrontation of the year. Forget Lennox Lewis v Mike Tyson or anything in football's World Cup. These two ladies put on a confrontation which gripped the imagination. Jr had action, suspense and a final emotional punch which drained the senses.

The 30-year-old Hansen broke the existing Commonwealth Games record with her first jump of 14.49 metres, and went further still with 14.66m in the second round. By now, the gold medal was certainly hers--or so it seemed to be--and there could have been no more popular winner. With only two jumps to go and the audience humming "Land of Hope and Glory" (England's national anthem), in anticipation the 26-year-old Mbango from Cameroon, standing tall and poised, stunned the stadium into silence withan exceptional leap of 14.82m to break the record yet again. Francoise dusted the sand from her thighs and encouraged the crowd to applause by clapping her hands. Hansen said afterwards that it was her rival's premature signal of victory that inspired her in her final jump, but...

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