Yaroslava Mahuchikh Sets New High Jump World Record for Women

Yaroslava Mahuchikh Sets New High Jump World Record for Women

Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh has set a new world record in the women’s high jump, achieving a remarkable feat at the Diamond League meet in Paris. The 22-year-old athlete cleared 2.10 meters (6.88 feet), surpassing the previous record of 2.09 meters set by Bulgaria’s Stefka Kostadinova in 1987. This achievement comes just weeks before the Paris Olympics, positioning Mahuchikh as a strong contender for Olympic gold.

Mahuchikh’s journey to this record-breaking moment has been anything but ordinary. She left her hometown of Dnipro shortly after the war with Russia began, training in foreign countries while staying connected to the situation back home. Her determination and resilience have been a source of inspiration for many, especially those in her war-torn country.

“Coming into this competition, I had feelings that I could jump 2.07 meters and maybe 2.10 meters,” Mahuchikh said. “Finally, I signed Ukraine to the history of world athletics.”

The competition saw Mahuchikh and world indoor champion Nicola Olyslagers both clear 2.01 meters on their second attempt. After Olyslagers failed three times at 2.03 meters, Mahuchikh cleared that height to secure victory. She then went on to clear 2.07 meters, setting a Ukrainian record, before achieving the world record height of 2.10 meters on her first try.

Mahuchikh’s performance was met with rapturous applause from the packed crowd at the Stade Charlety in southern Paris. She sprinted with arms held aloft in triumph to embrace her coaching team. “It was really incredible, even more so because I only jumped 2.07 at my second attempt, and it was already my personal best,” she said. “My coach told me that maybe I should stop because of the Olympic Games coming up – of course that is more important – but I felt inside I could do it, and, to be honest, I wanted to try the world record – and I did it at my first attempt.”

Mahuchikh’s journey has been marked by significant challenges. She fled the Russian bombardment of her native city of Dnipro in February 2022 and has been training abroad ever since. Despite these hardships, she has continued to excel in her sport. Last year, she claimed world gold in Budapest after securing silver in Eugene and Doha in previous years. She also added the world indoor high jump title to her accolades in 2022 after a six-day car journey to Belgrade.

This season, Mahuchikh claimed world indoor silver in Glasgow in March. Her record-setting feat in Paris has solidified her status as one of the stars to watch at the upcoming Olympics. “Now that I am healthy, I am ready to fight… I am looking forward to the Olympic Games here,” she said. “I am sure it will be a great competition and an even better atmosphere, but I know it will be hard, and will be very competitive. A major event like the Olympics you really need to be mentally strong, and like my coach says, it is a celebration, and you should definitely enjoy it.”

The Ukrainian sports ministry was quick to congratulate Mahuchikh on her achievement. “Congratulations to Yaroslava and her coach Tetiana Stepanova on their incredible result in pre-Olympic Paris!” the ministry said.

Mahuchikh’s record-breaking performance is not just a personal triumph but also a symbol of hope and resilience for her country. “We all are fighting for our people, for our soldiers,” she said last month after defending her European title. “We want to show every person in the world that we will continue fighting, that war in Ukraine it’s not finished, unfortunately. We should fight in every field to show that Ukraine is strongest.”

World Athletics, the global governing body for track and field, has banned all Russian athletes from next month’s Olympic track meet, a decision Mahuchikh supports. World Athletics president Sebastian Coe recently visited Kyiv and reiterated his support for the Ukrainian effort in the war. “Nothing I witnessed tells me that the decision we’ve taken is anything other than the right decision, but the right decision on behalf of our sport,” Coe said.

Mahuchikh’s achievement in Paris is a testament to her talent, hard work, and unwavering spirit. As she prepares for the Olympics, she carries with her the hopes and dreams of a nation. Her journey from a war-torn country to the pinnacle of her sport is a story of resilience and determination that will inspire many for years to come.

Source: Associated Press, NBC Universal

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