Ukrainian athletes win a trio of titles at the Youth Olympic Games

Myhaylo Kokhan
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Ukraine's Myhaylo Kokhan won yet another gold medal in the hammer at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires

European athletes won eleven gold medals at the third edition of the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 11-16 October with Ukraine leading the way courtesy of a trio of titles.

Yaroslava Mahuchikh has been one of the outstanding athletes at U18 level over the last eighteen months and the 17-year-old graduated into the U20 ranks with her fourth major U18 title in the high jump, clearing a lifetime best of 1.95m in the process.

Mahuchikh won the world U18 and the European Youth Olympic Festival title in the space of a fortnight last year before embellishing her status as one of the rising stars of the event with gold at the European U18 Championships in Gyor with 1.94m.

Like many athletes competing in Buenos Aires, Mahuchikh’s next target will be the European Athletics U20 Championships in Boras, Sweden. A 1.95m clearance there would equal the championship record jointly held by 2000 Olympic champion Yelena Yelesina and reigning world and European high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene.

The Ukrainian also has the majority of the 2018 season (she doesn’t turn 18 until 19 September) to attempt the world age-17 best of 1.96m.

Kokhan and Ivanenko make it a Ukrainian double in the hammer

Mahuchikh’s compatriot Myhaylo Kokhan has been similarly illustrious in the U18 ranks and he was class apart in both stage one and stage two of the hammer (5kg), leading the way with 85.97m and 85.14m respectively.

Kokhan produced a world U18 best of 87.82m to win at the European U18 Championships and he has already tasted success with the 6kg implement at U20 level, winning silver at the World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland the following week.

There was a Ukrainian double in the hammer as Valeriya Ivanenko also followed up her European U18 title with success at the Youth Olympic Games. Ivanenko was more than five metres ahead of the field in both stage one (74.90m) and stage two (72.08m) with the 3kg implement.

Malikova enriches medal haul with 400m gold

Barbora Malikova followed up her gold medals from the World U18 Championships in Nairobi and the European U18 Championships in Gyor with another major accolade in the 400m.

The order from Gyor was repeated in Buenos Aires as Malikova won the second stage of the 400m in 54.68 ahead of Germany’s Marie Scheppen in 55.15. Malikova clocked 52.66 to win gold in Gyor but the blustery conditions in the exposed arena pegged the times back markedly.

After winning the European U18 100m title in Gyor, Iceland’s Gudbjorg Jona Bjarnadottir added to her title haul with gold over 200m in Buenos Aires. Bjarnadottir was pipped to the line in stage two by Italy’s Dalia Kaddari but her combined time across the two stages (47.02 - 23.55/23.47) was superior to Kaddari’s (47.69 - 24.24/23.45).

Nacheva defeats Vicente for triple jump gold

Heptathlete Maria Vicente defeated Aleksandra Nacheva in an absorbing head-to-head at the European U18 Championships and the standings were tantalisingly poised heading into the second stage after they both hit the sand at 13.76m in the first stage.

Nacheva, the reigning world U20 champion, took the ascendency in stage two by improving to 13.86m to Vicente’s 13.67m. Maria Privalova, the daughter of former European 100m and 200m champion Irina, took bronze with 13.03m.

Much was expected of Greece’s Elina Tzenggo in the javelin at the European U18 Championships but the 16-year-old could only manage a seventh-place finish. Tzenggo atoned for that showing in Buenos Aires, first by setting a European U18 best of 63.34m with the 500g implement in stage one before topping the standings in stage two with 61.74m.

Leni Freyja Wildgrube followed up her gold at the European U18 Championships with gold in the pole vault in Buenos Aires with 3.95m in stage one and 4.17m in stage two and France’s Baptiste Thiery made it a European double, clearing a 5.35m PB in stage two of the pole vault.

Elsewhere, Finland’s Topias Laine set a lifetime best of 78.85m in the second stage of the 700g javelin to win the title and Belgium’s Maite Beernaert won the long jump title by a whisker with a combined total of 12.32m from the two stages (6.01m and 6.31m) ahead of Hungary’s Klaudia Endresz (12.31m - 6.05m, 6.26m) and Austria’s Ingeborg Gruenwald (12.31m - 6.11m, 6.20m).