While the plaudits went deservedly to Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas who won gold in the triple jump at the World Athletics Indoor Championships with an outright world record of 15.74m, Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk came away with a sensational silver medal.
In what was only her second triple jump competition as a senior and her first internationally, Bekh-Romanchuk once again drew on all of her competitive instincts and mental fortitude with a sixth round jump of 14.74m which elevated her from eighth to silver.
This effort ameliorated her lifetime best by some 40 centimetres and what a time to do it. Bekh-Romanchuk started the final with a near foul which would have put her in early medal contention but the Ukrainian left it late - as she has done many times before, not least at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Toruń last March when she won the long jump in the sixth round.
"My first failure was near to 15 metres. That was the crucial moment when I knew I could fight for a medal. I don't know if I will continue with the triple jump but I really enjoyed it today," said Bekh-Romanchuk who competes in the long jump final tonight.
A team of only six athletes made the fraught journey from Ukraine to Belgrade to the championships but their team has two medals to their credit following Yaroslava Mahuchikh’s title in yesterday’s high jump final.
Gianmarco Tamberi made the late decision to compete at these championships and while he couldn’t quite replicate his gold medal-winning efforts from Tokyo 2020, his journey was not in vain. After sharing the podium with Mutaz Barshim in Tokyo, Tamberi shared the bronze medal spot, this time with Hamish Kerr from New Zealand.
Tamberi, who was sporting a support on his right hamstring in between jumps at the earlier heights, cleared 2.31m with Switzerland’s Loic Gasch picking up his country’s third medal of the championships with silver on countback. The winner was world leader Sang-Hyeok Woo from South Korea who won by one clear height at 2.34m.
Tamberi wore a facemask in the colours of the Ukrainian flag when he was introduced to the crowd and just beneath the Italian flag donned on his shoulder, he also inscribed the names of two of his principal Ukrainian competitors on his arm as a tribute.
“I put the Ukrainian flag on my arm with the surnames of Andriy [Protsenko] and Bohdan [Bondarenko], whose country is under fire. I would love to have seen them here fighting for the podium but right now they have to fight for peace in their country. Today, I jumped for them as well,” he said.
There was also a British medal in the 3000m with Marc Scott claiming bronze in the last lap melee in 7:42.02 behind the Ethiopian duo of Selemon Barega (7:41.38) and Lamecha Girma (7:41.63).
“I've always believed this is my level but I always had minor set-backs going into the major championships. This year I knew I could compete. It gives me great confidence going forwards,” said Scott.