EUGENE, Ore. — Ukrainian high jumper Yaroslava Mahuchikh delivered good news to her war-torn country Tuesday night with a silver-medal performance at the world championships.
The 20-year-old cleared 2.02 meters (6 feet, 7 1/2 inches) to add the outdoor silver to the indoor world title she won in March, shortly after she escaped her hometown of Dnipro, which had come under attack by Russia.
It took Mahuchikh one more attempt to clear 2.02 than Australia’s Eleanor Patterson, who hit a career high in winning the gold.
Mahuchikh laid on the mat for a few seconds and put her hands over her face after missing her final attempt to go ahead at 2.04 (6-8 1/2), but this hardly felt like a disappointment.
She is one of 22 Ukrainian athletes in Eugene this week for the championships, all of whom have been training far from home — some in Portugal, others in Spain, and Mahuchikh most recently in California after stops in Serbia, Germany and Turkey.
Her teammate, Iryna Gerashchenko, finished fourth — a spectacular comeback given her plight after bombs started falling in Kyiv. After sheltering in her parents’ basement for about a week, she left without spikes and trained for a time in tennis shoes.
And Mahuchikh’s silver came the night after Ukrainian Andriy Protsenko, who was trapped for nearly six weeks in his hometown of Kherson, which is under Russian occupation, won bronze in the men’s high jump.
“It made me realize that anything is possible,” said Ukrainian hurdler Anna Ryzhykova, who finished second in her preliminary heat shortly before Mahuchikh took to the field. “He trained one month in an occupied city where he was risking his life. It’s amazing.”