Mahuchikh improves world indoor U20 record to 2.02m in Karlsruhe

Yaroslava Mahuchikh
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Yaroslava Mahuchikh cleared a world indoor U20 record of 2.02m in Karlsruhe on Friday (31) night

Yaroslava Mahuchikh confirmed her magnificent early season indoor form by improving her world indoor U20 high jump record to 2.02m at the Indoor Meeting in Karlsruhe, Germany on Friday (31) evening.

This was Mahuchikh’s third successive win of the indoor campaign and her second 2.00m-plus clearance. The 18-year-old began her season with a remarkable 2.01m clearance in Lviv to secure sole ownership of the world indoor U20 record which was followed by a 1.98m victory over teammate Yuliya Levchenko in Cottbus on Wednesday evening.

Mahuchikh had three solid attempts at a prospective world indoor U20 record of 2.02m in Cottbus two nights ago and the world silver medallist only needed one attempt at this height in Karlsruhe tonight.

Mahuchikh sealed the victory over Levchenko courtesy of a first-time clearance at 1.99m before clearing the next height of 2.02m on her first attempt as well. Her winning clearance was also an outright national indoor record, a mark she previously shared with Vita Palamar. Mahuchikh then raised the bar to 2.04m which would have matched her outright world U20 record.

"I am very happy. I enjoyed the competition, there was a great atmosphere and I am very satisfied with 2.02m," said Mahuchikh. "I'm in great shape and I knew I could jump that high. I had already tried it in Cottbus. The 2.04m was close on the second attempt and even though I couldn't do it today, next time I can do it."

Mahuchikh's next competitions will be the Banska Bystrica High Jump Meeting on 11 February followed by the Muller Indoor Grand Prix in Glasgow on 15 February.

Germany’s Imke Onnen cleared 1.96m on her first attempt to secure the Olympic qualifying mark and finish third and there was also a notable performance from Switzerland’s Salome Lang who cleared a national record of 1.93m.

Best indoor women’s high jump performances in January

2.04m Stefka Kostadinova - Genova (31 January 1985)
2.04m Heike Henkel - Karlsruhe (31 January 1992)
2.04m Anna Chicherova - Ekaterinburg (7 January 2003)
2.04m Mariya Lasitskene - Volgograd (27 January 2018)
2.03m Heike Henkel - Berlin (29 January 1992)
2.03m Monika Iagar - Bucharest (23 January 1999)
2.03m Blanka Vlasic - Rijeka (26 January 2009)
2.03m Mariya Lasitskene - Moscow (20 January 2019)
2.02m Stefka Kostadinova - Lievin (25 January 1992)
2.02m Mariya Lasitskene - Cottbus (30 January 2019)
2.02m Yaroslava Mahuchikh - Karlsruhe (31 January 2020)

Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk turned the tide on world champion Malaika Mihambo in a long jump event of the highest standard. 

A 5000-capacity crowd looked set to celebrate a home success as Germany's Mihambo took the lead in the second round with a world-leading leap of 6.76m but a round later Bekh-Romanchuk made sure this would be her evening with the greatest indoor performance of her career, landing at 6.92m to break her indoor lifetime best by seven centimetres.

Mihambo responded with 6.83m but it had been a long night. She had also competed in the 60m, running 7.37 in the heats to make the final which she did not compete in and then after this fourth jump, she decided to bow out of the competition. Mihambo made a late decision to contest the long jump in Karlsruhe and she was pleased with her performance in defeat.

"It's great, I can build on that. I changed my training and competition schedule because the World Indoor Championships were postponed. I was successful and I was able to show the audience a good distance," said Mihambo.

There was European success in the men's long jump as Eusebio Caceres, a finalist in Doha, won with 7.99m. It was a discipline bringing in the new format where only the top three had a sixth jump with Caceres taking victory from Ukraine's Vladyslav Mazur (7.84m).

Three years ago, Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie flew to a meeting record of 5.91m and while he fell short of that height this time, he still celebrated success in a great duel with his brother Valentin and the Netherlands' Menno Vloon.

The trio all finished on 5.70m with countback giving the Lavillenie brothers a one-two from Vloon, who equalled his indoor personal best. Sam Kendricks, the two-time world champion, was the favourite but he had an off-night, leaving the competition on 5.50m after three failures at 5.60m. 

Renaud said: "I am very happy that I was able to win in this field, especially against Sam. With my brother Valentin taking second place, the meeting was also a family affair. To occupy the first two places here is a great success for us."

Bibic and Gega smash national records over 3000m

On the track, European U23 1500m bronze medallist Elzan Bibic from Serbia finished fifth in the 3000m in a 7:47.03, breaking the national indoor record which had stood since March 1983. 

His time beat the mark of 7:51.47 that Dragan Zdravkovic set almost 37 years ago and for Bibic, 21, it was the sixth fastest indoors by a European U23 runner in a race won by Kenya’s Bethwell Birgen in a world-leading 7:38.50. 

It was a record-breaking night in the women’s event as Albania’s Luiza Gega improved her national 3000m indoor mark in brilliant style. As Ethiopia's Fantu Worku won in 8:37.58 from Kenyan Quailyne Jebiwott in 8:40.27, Gega was third in 8:44.46, taking over eight seconds off her previous time of 8:52.53 set in 2017. 

There was double European success in the women's 400m and what a race it could have been if the two eventual winners were drawn against each other – because they both produced the same time of 52.56.

Italy's Ayomide Folorunso won her final ahead of Ukrainian pair Tetyana Melnyk (52.96) and Anastasiya Bryzghina (54.57) as Switzerland's Lea Sprunger triumphed in hers from the Netherlands' Lisanne de Witte (52.70) and the Czech Republic's Lada Vondrova (52.99).

And the top points were decided by the smallest of margins with Folorunso edging it from the European indoor champion –  52.551 to 52.556.