Magic Moments: Spanovic thrills in Belgrade with 7.24m

Local heroine Ivana Spanovic at the Belgrade 2017 European Athletics Indoor Championships
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Local heroine Ivana Spanovic at the Belgrade 2017 European Athletics Indoor Championships

From the moment Belgrade were awarded the privilege of being the hosts of the 2017 European Athletics Indoor Championships, Ivana Spanovic would have had the date of Sunday 5 March written into her diary.

However, despite her dreaming of a gold medal in front of her family and friends, she could surely have never have imagined how that triumph was going to be achieved.

The superstar of Serbian athletics, and poster girl of the championships, treated the home crowd at the Kombank Arena to something spectacular as she flew to a national record of 7.24m.

It was one of the greatest performances in the long and glorious history of European Athletics because everything fell into place – the jump, the drama, the result, the setting and then the celebration.

Gold was always going to be hers when she reached 7.16m in round two for her first national record of the day but round three provided one of those moments in sport which will be replayed for generations, both in Serbia and further afield.

To add to the suspense, the scoreboard which hung from the ceiling of this arena took what seemed to be an eternity – although, in reality, it was just a few seconds longer than usual – to show how far Spanovic had reached after she has soared through the air to a mark which looked something special from the moment she landed.

When the distance flashed up, cue delirium.

It was the world’s longest jump indoors since 1989 and Spanovic, who had been sitting by the long jump pit in anticipation, fell back and stretched her arms out in celebration while her mother and the rest of her family cheered and exulted from the seats close by.

It was a photographers' dream too, as they captured the picture of the championship.

“It was really important for me to perform well," reflected Spanovic. "I enjoyed every minute of competing in front of this home crowd. The people were amazing, and I am really glad that I could give them this gold medal.”