Belgrade : ' Ukraine's Mahuchikh wins high jump gold at world indoors. '

Yaroslava Mahuchikh won a dramatic high jump gold for war-torn Ukraine at the World Indoor Championships on Saturday as Christian Coleman and Lamont Marcell Jacobs remained on course for a showdown in the 60.

European indoor champion Mahuchikh fled Ukraine after the Russian invasion of her country, making it to Belgrade after a tortuous three-day trip.

After holding her nerve amid ''explosions, fires, and air raid sirens,'' the 20-year-old replicated her sang-froid in the Stark Arena, after triumphing over Australian Eleanor Patterson with a best of 2.02 metres.

Mahuchikh received a standing ovation from the crowd, with a handful of Ukrainian flags waved from the stands in the capital of Serbia, a nation where many people openly support President Vladimir Putin and his decision to invade Ukraine.

''It's my job to defend Ukraine's colours on the track in the international arena, to show that we are the strongest in the world,'' said Mahuchikh, who had described her participation in Belgrade as her own front line.

Despite understandable doubts over the preparation, the Ukrainian - a world outdoor silver medallist and Olympic bronze medal winner - said : ''My coach said I must go out and perform with the shape and fitness I had before the start of the Russian invasion.'' [AFP]


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