EUGENE, Oré. – Ukrainian high jumper Yaroslava Mahuchikh brought good news to her war-torn country on Tuesday night with a silver medal at the world championships.
The 20-year-old cleared 2.02 meters (6ft, 7 1/2in) to add outdoor silver to the world indoor title she won in March, shortly after escaping a his hometown of Dnipro, which had been attacked by Russia. .
It took Mahuchikh one more attempt to clear 2.02 than Australia’s Eleanor Patterson, who reached a career high in winning the gold medal.
Mahuchikh lay on the mat for a few seconds and put her hands to her face after missing her last attempt to go forward at 2.04 (6-8 1/2), but it hardly looked like disappointment.
She is one of 22 Ukrainian athletes in Eugene this week for the championships, all of whom have been training away from home – some in Portugal, others in Spain and Mahuchikh most recently in California after stops in Serbia, Germany and in Turkey.
Her teammate, Iryna Gerashchenko, finished fourth – a dramatic comeback considering her fate after bombs started falling in Kyiv. After hunkering down in her parents’ basement for about a week, she left without cleats and trained for a while in tennis shoes.
And Mahuchikh’s silver came the night after Ukrainian Andriy Protsenko, who was trapped for nearly six weeks in his hometown of Kherson, which is under Russian occupation, won bronze in the men’s high jump.
“It made me realize that anything is possible,” said Ukrainian hurdler Anna Ryzhykova, who finished second in her preliminary race shortly before Mahuchikh entered the field. “He trained for a month in an occupied city where he risked his life. It’s incredible.”
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