Yaroslava Mahuchikh didn’t jump as high as she had expected or hoped for at the 26th edition of the Banskobystrická latka – the famous Banska Bystrica indoor high jump meeting in Slovakia – but the prodigious Ukraine teenager still secured an excellent win against a world class field and continued her 2020 unbeaten streak on Tuesday (11).
She had to settle for a winning height of 1.96m in competition where she, and most of the other women who had made the trip to central Slovakia for the celebrated European Athletics Indoor Permit meeting which can boast of being arguably the best specialist competition in the world, struggled to find their best form.
Only three women, the Ukrainian trio of 2017 Banska Bystrica winner Iryna Heraschenko, Mahuchikh and reigning European U23 champion Yuliya Levchenko made it over 1.93m, going over at their first, second and third attempts respectively.
With the bar raised to 1.96m only Mahuchikh negotiated this height, on her second attempt, before finding 2.00m beyond her on this occasion, although she went close on her third attempt in the packed 1500-capacity Stiavnicky Sport Hall, which has a surface provided by European Athletics Green Inspiration Partner Mondo.
The win was her fourth consecutive victory since the start of the year and she became the youngest winner - either man or woman - since the competition was inaugurated in 1993. “I was a bit frustrated because I was having technical problems sometimes,” reflected Mahuchikh, the 2019 European Athletics Rising Star and World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 silver medallist.
“It’s great to have such competition in our schedule but she had too many technical mistakes today, especially in approach and take-off. After euphoria in Karlsruhe and world indoor U20 record of 2.02m, it’s time to come back to earth and we know we can improve and be much more stable in the results. On other hand, Yaroslava showed her best qualities in fighting with her main rivals. We’ll do our best to jump even higher this indoor season,” added Mahuchikh’s coach Tetyana Stepanova.
The men’s contest saw Cuba’s 2019 Pan American Games champion Luiz Zayas and Bahamas’ Jamal Wilson both clear 2.33m for personal bests and a share of the world lead, the verdict going to the former who had a clean sheet throughout the competition while Wilson got over the deciding height on his second attempt.
The leading European was Great Britain’s 21-year-old Tom Gale, who finished third with 2.31m.
“After jumping 2.33m in Hustopece on Saturday (a European-leading mark), I was a bit more tired today than I thought I was going to be but I’m still really pleased with my performance,” commented Gale, who took the European U23 silver medal last summer.
Full results are available here.