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Ukraine’s Mahuchikh defends high jump title at Euros. She’s a favorite for the Paris Olympics

ROME (AP) — One Ukrainian medal in the high jump was expected. A second was a pleasant surprise for the war-torn country.

Yaroslava Mahuchikh met expectations by following up her world title with a second consecutive European Championship gold on Sunday.

And she was joined on the podium this time by her teammate Iryna Gerashchenko.

The pair ended their night at the Stadio Olimpico celebrating with the Ukrainian flag draped over their shoulders.

“We all are fighting for our people, for our soldiers. We want to show every person in the world that we will continue fighting, that war in Ukraine it’s not finished unfortunately,” Mahuchikh said. “We should fight in every field to show that Ukraine is strongest.”

Mahuchikh, who wore blue and yellow eyeliner, cleared 2.01 meters on her second attempt.

The silver medal went to 18-year-old Angelina Topic of Serbia at 1.95. Geraschenko, whose ponytail was tied up in a blue and yellow ribbon, took bronze at 1.95.

The only big thing missing for Mahuchikh — who claimed bronze at the Tokyo Games — is an Olympic gold. And she’ll get her chance to chase the biggest honor in the sport when the Paris Games open in less than 50 days.

“I came to Rome to defend my title and to become the double European champion and that is what I managed,” Mahuchikh said. “Now I have time to recover even more and to prepare for the main competition of the year. I am in a good shape and it is just a start of the season for me.”

Ukraine also won a medal in the hammer throw, with Mykhaylo Kokhan taking bronze at 80.18 meters behind Polish winner Wojciech Nowicki (80.95) and silver medalist Bence Halasz of Hungary (80.49).

Mahuchikh, who had to leave her hometown of Dnipro when the Russians invaded, has been forced to train abroad.

Russia and Belarus are both excluded from major track events, a decision led by World Athletics President Sebastian Coe, whose sport is among the few that has taken such a stringent stance against the Russians.

Also on Day 3 of the six-day meet, British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith won the 100 meters in 10.99 seconds for her fifth career European gold over multiple events. Ewa Swoboda of Poland took silver in 11.03 and Zaynab Dossu of host Italy took bronze with the same time.

Yeman Crippa and Pietro Riva went 1-2 in the half marathon to open the morning session, which also gave Italy a team gold.

Italy improved its record medal haul to seven golds and 15 medals overall.

In the 25 past editions of the Euros — which stretch back to 1934 — Italy’s best previous performance was five golds and 12 medals in 1990.


AP coverage of the Paris Olympics: https://ift.tt/voxuLSI

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