The coronation speech of the new high jump world champion, the Ukrainian Yaroslava Mahuchikh, was revealing and did not forget the conflict in Ukraine. “Before going on the track, I had my head in Ukraine. This medal is for my nation, for my people and for their army. I am very happy to have obtained it to represent them,” said the youngster. 20-year-old athlete, whom she emotionally celebrated, wrapping herself in the Ukrainian flag, while being cheered on by the Stark Arena in Belgrade.
Among the hours wasted bunkers and anxiety for what was happening in kyiv barely formed. “I woke up on February 24 with two explosions and I had to call my parents and the coach. I realized that the Russians had started the war. The situation was difficult and I had to leave my city, Dnipro “, said the athlete, admitting that the Ukrainian federation encouraged her to compete to “show that Ukrainians are strong”, who “never give up”.
He had won bronze at Tokyo 2020 and knew he could win gold, especially after Olympic champion Russia’s Lasitskene (Idol of Yaroslava) was hit by sanctions imposed on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine. He decided to flee and travel from war-torn Ukraine to Belgrade. “It took me three more days to get here, it was a very stressful trip. There were hundreds of phone calls, countless route changes, explosions, fires, the noise of anti-aircraft alarms”, revealed Mahuchikh, who won gold with a jump of 2.02 meters. She got the better of Australian Patterson (silver) and Kazakh Nadezhda Dubovitskaya (bronze).
Iryna Gerashchenko, the other Ukrainian in the high jump competition, finished fifth at 1.92 meters.
The daughter of a canoeist and a gymnast, Yaroslava started practicing athletics at the age of seven, focusing on the high jump at the age of 13. Trained by Tetyana Stepanova, the brutal evolution left no doubt that it was the right choice. She loves writing and reading JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books, but she also enjoys something less whimsical like Howard Schultz’s book, How Starbucks Built a Cmpany One Cup at a Time. She calls herself an adventurer and that’s why she named the cat Lara (from Lara Croft).
She concentrates on braiding her hair and painting her nails, a sort of ritual before exams. And it went well. Yesterday he added world indoor gold to the European sceptre, outdoor silver and Olympic bronze. And he’s only 20 years old.