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Mahuchikh sets new world high jump record for perfect Olympic boost

Yaroslava Mahuchikh poses after setting a new world record in the women's high jump (GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT)
Yaroslava Mahuchikh poses after setting a new world record in the women's high jump (GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT)

Ukraine's Yaroslava Mahuchikh gave herself the perfect pre-Olympic tonic by setting a new world record in the women's high jump at the Diamond League meet in Paris on Sunday.

Just three weeks out from the Paris Games, reigning world champion Mahuchikh set a new best of 2.10 metres.

That mark beat by 1cm the previous record set by Bulgaria's Stefka Kostadinova at the 1987 world championships in Rome, one of track and field's longest-standing.

"I feel fantastic because it was an incredible jump and I managed to do it in my first attempt," Mahuchikh said.

Mahuchikh had entered the competition at 1.92m and despite three failures on her way to clearing 2.03, then passed at 2.05m.

One jittery failure at 2.07 was swiftly followed by a successful attempt to improve her own personal best by 1cm.

The bar was raised to 2.10m, the Ukrainian clearing it at the first time of asking to rapturous applause from the packed-out crowd at the Stade Charlety in southern Paris.

She sprinted arms held aloft in triumph to embrace her coaching team.

"It was really incredible, even more so because I only jumped 2.07 at my second attempt, and it was already my personal best," she said.

"My coach told me that maybe I should stop because of the Olympic Games coming up - of course that is more important - but I felt inside I could do it, and, to be honest, I wanted to try the world record - and I did it at my first attempt."

Mahuchikh added: "Of course we have been doing a lot of work with my coaches, a lot of hard work, also to recovery from a small injury before the European Championships" in Rome where she won gold.

Her record-setting feat will see Mahuchikh, who fled the Russian bombardment of her native city of Dnipro in February 2022, return to the French capital as one of the nailed-on stars for the Games.

"Now that I am healthy, I am ready to fight... I am looking forward to the Olympic Games here," she said.

"I am sure it will be a great competition and an even better atmosphere, but I know it will be hard, and will be very competitive.

"A major event like the Olympics you really need to be mentally strong, and like my coach says, it is a celebration, and you should definitely enjoy it."

The Ukrainian sports ministry was quick to hail Mahuchikh's feat.

"Congratulations to Yaroslava and her coach Tetiana Stepanova on their incredible result in pre-Olympic Paris!" the ministry said.

The 22-year-old claimed world gold in Budapest last year after claiming silver in Eugene, losing to Australian Eleanor Patterson on countback, the same result she achieved in Doha in 2019.

Because of the war, the Ukrainian had to make a six-day car journey to Belgrade in 2022 where she added the world indoor high jump title to those two world silvers and Olympic bronze she had already collected. This season also saw Mahuchikh claim world indoor silver in Glasgow in March.

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