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    Sixth round wonder Bekh-Romanchuk soars to long jump gold

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    • Sixth round wonder Bekh-Romanchuk soars to long jump gold

    After a brace of silver and bronze medals dating back to 2013, Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk won an outstanding women’s long jump final in dramatic fashion with a final effort of 6.92m, the furthest seen this year, bettering the lead held by Germany’s world champion Malaika Mihambo by four centimetres. 

    The German’s effort to regain top spot with the final jump of the competition was huge – 7.07m, in fact – but she had taken off fully 29 centimetres ahead of the board and thus only registered 6.78m, thus having to settle for silver with 6.88m. 

    When the final figures registered on the digital display the Ukrainian’s roars of triumph were clearly heard as she acclaimed another adornment for a CV that already includes silver medals at the 2018 European Championships and 2019 World Championships, finishing behind Mihambo on both occasions.

    The bronze medal went to Sweden’s Khaddi Sagnia with 6.75m while the world leader prior to tonight’s competition Larissa Iapichino from Italy, who had jumped a world indoor U20 record of 6.91m at the Italian Indoor Championships, had to settle for fifth on her major senior debut with 6.59m. 

    Bekh-Romanchuk said: “It was a perfect evening. I am very happy. It is my first gold medal, I couldn't imagine better competition. Before the last jump I was very focused, I knew I was well prepared despite the short indoor season, and I achieved a fantastic result.” 

    Mihambo, whose intended move to Texas to train with multiple Olympic and world champion Carl Lewis has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, had a rueful smile on her face during the post-event celebrations after losing her lead in the penultimate jump of the final.

    “It's a pity that I could not counter in the last round.” she said. “In training I need to improve my run-up to feel better. Today it only was enough for silver.”

    A brilliant competition would have surely been enhanced further by the participation of three-time reigning champion Ivana Spanovic from Serbia who withdrew from the championships just days ago with a hamstring injury.

    Junior standout Moser upsets the favourites for pole vault gold

    There was drama too in the women’s pole vault in which Switzerland’s Angelica Moser was a surprise – and surprised – gold medallist with a personal best clearance of 4.75m as Great Britain’s Holly Bradshaw, who was a strong favourite after clearing 4.85m earlier this season and in the absence of reigning champion Anzhelika Sidorova, had to settle for a share of bronze with a best of 4.65m. 

    Moser cleared 4.65m at the third attempt, but then moved into new territory as she cleared 4.70m at the first attempt and then 4.75m second time around. 

    Slovenia’s Tina Sutej, who made her European indoor debut as far back as 2007, took silver with 4.70m. Bradshaw finished with an identical record to the Belarusian athlete who had been expected to provide her main opposition, Iryna Zhuk, who cleared an outright national record of 4.73m last month. 

    “I am disappointed,” said Bradshaw, who had won gold eight years ago in a dramatic jump-off against Poland’s Anna Rogowska. “To come here and jump your lowest of the season – it’s not what you expect.” 

    By contrast Moser, who has won European U20 and U23 titles in her illustrious age-group career, was understandably excited by her performance. “I am really happy, really very happy,” she said. “I have not yet realised it, perhaps tomorrow with the medal around my neck.  

    “I had to take three attempts at 4.60m and 4.65m and then just made 4.70, in the first attempt. I didn't expect that, I hoped for a medal, but this...I am so delighted,” she said.

    And how will she celebrate? “Well now I have to do a COVID-test and then go back to the hotel.”

    World decathlon record-holder Kevin Mayer did enough in the high jump, the fourth and final heptathlon event of the day, to take over the lead from the 21-year-old Simon Ehammer from Switzerland who had excelled in the 60m and long jump.

    Mayer, who has an indoor high jump best of 2.10m, called it a day after one failed attempt at 2.07m, earning fourth place with his clearance of 2.04m. 

    Assuming all is well, and all goes well in tomorrow’s concluding events - the 60m hurdles, pole vault and 1000m - the Frenchman, who seems to have rediscovered his mojo in the pole vault, could be on for an amelioration of his European record of 6479 points which he set at the 2017 European Indoor Championships in Belgrade.

    After four events, Mayer has tallied 3571 points for a lead of 33 points over Ehammer, who finished tenth in the high jump with 1.95m. Spain’s defending champion Jorge Urena cleared a lifetime best of 2.10m which moved him up to third overnight with 3424 points.