Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh defies odds to win world indoor high jump gold | More sports News

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BELGRADE: Yaroslava Mahuchikh overcame the “total panic” of armed conflict in her native Ukraine to win gold in the high jump at the World Indoor Championships on Saturday.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Mahuchikh was forced to flee her home, hide out in a cellar and eventually make the 2,000km trip over three days to Belgrade to face what she dubbed her own front line.
The reigning European indoor high jump champion, who won Olympic bronze in Tokyo and world outdoor silver in Doha in 2019, was forced to leave her home in Dnipro just three weeks ago as the conflict escalated.
She found her way to Serbia after “hundreds of phone calls, many changes of direction, explosions, fires, and air raid sirens”.
Coming in at 1.88m, Mahuchikh had a failure at 1.92 and two at 2.00 before making the latter height.
She sailed over 2.02 to ramp up the pressure on Eleanor Patterson. The Australian responded by passing, so the bar was raised to 2.04m.
But when Patterson failed at the new height, Mahuchikh was left celebrating in the Stark Arena, where a handful of Ukrainian flags were waved by fans.
Patterson claimed silver with 2.00m, with Kazakhstan’s Nadezhda Dubovitskaya taking bronze (1.98).
Mahuchikh, 20, is one of an all-female, six-strong Ukraine team in Belgrade.
Her teammate Iryna Gerashchenko, who fled her Kyiv with her husband and dog amid “everything at once: bombs and rockets” but no kit, finished fifth in the high jump with a best of 1.92m.
Mahuchikh’s victory came in the absence of Russia’s Mariya Lasitskene, who won gold in Tokyo competing as an accredited neutral athlete.
But Lasitskene was ruled out of the world indoors following World Athletics‘ ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.



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