Olympics: Stranded Jamaican hurdler's shock win possible only because volunteer gave him cab fare

Hansle Parchment had caught the wrong coach, ending up at what appeared to be one of the aquatics venues.
Hansle Parchment had caught the wrong coach, ending up at what appeared to be one of the aquatics venues.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Jamaican Hansle Parchment delivered one of the biggest shocks of the Tokyo Olympics athletics competition by beating world champion Grant Holloway - the American had not lost a race since August last year - in the men's 110 metres hurdles final last week.

However, his upset victory and maiden gold would not have been possible but for a good Samaritan.

Parchment got lost and caught the wrong coach, ending up at what appeared to be one of the aquatics venues.

In an Instagram video, he revealed how he was left stranded with little hope of getting to Tokyo's Olympic Stadium on time.

Due to the strict Covid-19 countermeasures in place, pre-bookings for official Tokyo 2020 cars were a requisite and they were all already booked in advance.

Taking a bus back to the Olympic village and then another to the stadium would have left him struggling to make the start of the final, and he also did not have enough money on him.

Desperate, he approached a Games volunteer known only as Trijana, who helped by paying for his taxi ride to the stadium, where he subsequently won his race last Thursday (Aug 5) in a season-best time of 13.04 seconds, adding to a London 2012 bronze.

"If I had done that (taking the bus), I wouldn't get there in time to even warm up. I had to find another way. I was trying to get one of the branded cars for the Games to take me, but these people are very strict and adhering to the rules, and I would have to have to book the car from beforehand to get it to leave," he said.

"I saw this volunteer and I had to beg - because of course, she's not allowed to do much - and she actually gave me some money to take one of the taxis.

"And that's how I was able to get to the warm-up track at the stadium, with enough time to warm up and compete - and that's just awesome."

An indebted Parchment tracked her down over the weekend and documented it on social media.

The 31-year-old told her he was there to "repay you - and show you something" before presenting his gold medal.

"You were instrumental in me getting to the final that day," he added, before also giving her a Jamaica track suit and reimbursing her for the taxi fare.

The stunned woman, who is reportedly of mixed Japanese and Serbian heritage, thanked him, replying: "Really, you got this?"

In his Instagram video, Parchment posted a caption that read: "Reminder to be grateful always. The Japanese people are the sweetest ever. Thank you my friend."

The clip went viral and Jamaica's Minister for Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has now offered her a trip to the Caribbean nation, where she will be hosted by his ministry.

"No matter where in the world she is, we want to reciprocate the kindness shown to one of our own," he told local daily The Gleaner.

In response, Trijana posted herself in the Jamaica uniform, saying on Instagram: "I'm full of gratitude to everyone. This is a gift from dear Hansle. Perfect fit! Thank you so much dear Hansle!"