Athletics News

National pride for Yaroslava Mahuchikh and Neeraj Chopra

National pride for Yaroslava Mahuchikh and Neeraj Chopra

Ukrainian lands her maiden world high jump title while India celebrate another moment of  javelin history

It’s easy to forget that Yaroslava Mahuchikh is just 21 years old. Given how extraordinarily well she continues to compete on the global stage, it can also be easy to forget the turmoil in the background of her daily life.

It was in spring of last year that she won the world indoor high jump title only a matter of days after having had to flee Ukraine following the outbreak of war with Russia. Still that conflict rages. Still she is separated from her family, training and living in Germany during the athletics season. Still she competes for a higher purpose than winning medals.

The European champion has certainly done her part in generating national pride and she did so again by winning the first outdoor world title of her career, upgrading the silver medals she won in Doha four years ago and Eugene last summer.

A second-time clearance of 2.01m proved to be enough, though she did make three – albeit unsuccessful – attempts at what would have been a national record-breaking height of 2.07m.

The Australian duo of defending champion Eleanor Patterson and Nicola Olyslagers both cleared 1.99m, but it was the former who took silver on countback. Britain’s Morgan Lake was fourth with a third-time leap of 1.97m.

“I am so proud to win this gold for my country,” said Mahuchikh. “I can’t wait to go back and show this medal to my coach. High jumpers have three attempts at every height and I had my third attempt at the World championships tonight.

“Silvers from Doha and Eugene definitely were not enough for me. I have been one of the best woman high jumpers over the last few years and I badly wanted to become the best in the world officially.”

She added: “Before every single one of my jumps tonight I said to myself that I have to win gold. Only gold. For all my team that believes in me, for my family; from my father who could not come here to support me, but I felt his energy despite hundreds of kilometres between us.

“I have to win this gold for my country and all Ukrainian people who are still fighting for peace in Ukraine and for our independence. Thanks to them we have this unique possibility to compete at the international arena and to raise our flag.”

Neeraj Chopra (Getty)

Neeraj Chopra is another athlete who will find themselves at the centre of national attention, thanks to his men’s javelin gold medal-winning performance…

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