Mahuchikh hits the heights in Brussels with world-leading 2.05m

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  • Mahuchikh hits the heights in Brussels with world-leading 2.05m

In her first competition since winning the European title in Munich 12 days previously, Yaroslava Mahuchikh won the women’s high jump at the Brussels Diamond League meeting with a world-leading 2.05m on Friday (2).

The leap was three centimetres better than any woman in the world has managed in 2022 and she equalled the Ukrainian outdoor best which had stood to Inga Babakova since 1995, although Mahuchikh herself cleared 2.06m indoors last year.

Mahuchikh, still only 20 but also the world indoor champion, had first-time clearances up to and including 1.97m. She had one failure at 2.00m but then moved the bar to 2.02m and cleared it on her first attempt.

She then moved the bar up to 2.05m and got over it with her second leap before ending her series with three attempts at a would-be world record of 2.10m, going respectably close with her first effort.

“It´s so joyful that I jumped my [outdoor] personal best because my previous record of 2.04m was from 2019 so that is a long time to improve my jump. I tried 2.10m today but for now that is a bit too high. For a long time, nobody has even attempted that height, so I feel very good,” reflected Mahuchikh.

“Next up is [the Diamond League final] in Zurich, my last competition of this season. It has definitely been the most difficult season so far because of the war in my country. It´s terrible and today I jumped for all the Ukrainian people. I know that they smile now,” she added.

Mahuchikh’s victory was one of three wins in Brussels by European athletes, all of which came in the final 20 minutes.

The men’s 800m was the last event on the track and Great Britain’s 1500m world champion Jake Wightman showed he has no little ability over two laps of the track too as he won in a personal best of 1:43.65.

Wightman hit the front with 200 metres to go and was never headed, taking more than half-a-second off his previous best of 1:44.18 and also breaking a Scottish record which had stood for 34 years at 1:43.88 to the 1990 European 800m champion Tom McKean.

“To win a race in a field like this, I'm really pleased with that. In Zürich, I'm running the 800m as well, and then a road mile in New York to finish off this long season,” said Wightman, who also clocked the second fastest time by a European this year.

“After that, I'm taking a week or three off to spend some time with friends and family. It has been one championship after the other, so I'm very looking forward to taking some time and reflect on this amazing season,” he added.

in the women’s 1500m, Ireland’s Ciara Mageean came from a long way back on the final lap before moving into the lead off the last bend and then kicking to victory in 3:56.63, taking over two seconds off Sonia O’Sullivan’s national record set back in 1995.

Like Wightman, Mageean set the second fastest time by a European this year over the distance.

Great Britain’s Laura Muir, who had beaten Mageean to the Commonwealth and European titles in recent weeks, was a close behind in 3:56.86 but on this occasion had to settle for second.

Providing domestic interest for the local crowd, Belgian records fell in the men’s 400m hurdles with Julien Watrin reducing the national standard for the third time in 2022 when running 48.66 when finishing fifth in what has become his specialist event this season while Cynthia Bolingo took 0.1 from her own Belgian 400m record with a sparkling run of 50.19 to finish third over one lap of the track.

Pole vault superstar Mondo Duplantis suffered his first defeat for over a year when he failed to navigate what has become the almost routine height of 5.91m and had to settle for a best of 5.81m and second place.

However, that disappointment for Swedish fans was tempered by the historic run of Andreas Almgren in the 5000m.

The 2014 World U20 800m bronze medallist has moved up distance in the last two years, partly as a result of a series of injuries at the end of the last decade, and just missed out on a 5000m medal in Munich when he finished fourth but he got some compensation in Brussels when he demolished one of the oldest Swedish records on the books.

In the Belgian capital, Almgren crossed the line in a European-leading 13:01.70 to take almost 16 seconds off the Swedish record which had stood since 1976 to Anders Garderud, set in the year the latter won the Olympic 3000m steeplechase title in a world record time.

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