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World Athletics Championships 2022: Yaroslava Mahuchikh’s Silver Brings Smiles To War-Torn Ukraine

The 20-year-old Yaroslava Mahuchikh cleared 2.02m to grab the second spot in women’s high jump. Eleanor Patterson (gold) and Nadezhda Dubovitskaya (bronze) are other two medal winners.

Ukraine's Yaroslava Mahuchikh competes at the World Athletics Championships 2022.
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Ukrainian high jumper Yaroslava Mahuchikh delivered good news to her war-torn country with a silver-medal performance at World Athletics Championships 2022. (More Sports News)

The 20-year-old cleared 2.02 meters (6 feet, 7 1/2 inches) on Tuesday night to add the outdoor silver to the indoor world title she won in March, shortly after she escaped her hometown of Dnipro, which had come under attack by Russia.

Australia's Eleanor Patterson took gold. Mahuchikh laid on the mat for a few seconds and put her hands over her face after missing her final attempt to go ahead at 2.04 (6-8 1/2), but this hardly felt like a disappointment.

Patterson, who had cleared a personal best of 2.00m to remain in contention for gold before passing after a first failure at 2.02m, was unable to convert either of her two efforts at the next height of 2.04m. Kazakhstan’s Nadezhda Dubovitskaya grabbed the third position.

She is one of 22 Ukrainian athletes in Eugene this week for the championships, all of whom have been training far from home — some in Portugal, others in Spain, and Mahuchikh most recently in California after stops in Serbia, Germany and Turkey.

Her teammate, Iryna Gerashchenko, finished fourth — a spectacular comeback given her plight after bombs started falling in Kyiv. After sheltering in her parents' basement for about a week, she left without spikes and trained for a time in tennis shoes.

And Mahuchikh's gold 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 heat shortly before Mahuchikh took to the field. “He trained one month in an occupied city where he was risking his life. It's amazing.”

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