There were emotional scenes in Belgrade as Yaroslava Mahuchikh of Ukraine claimed gold in the women’s high jump at the World Athletics Indoor Championships.
Mahuchikh took a three-day trip from her country to Serbia, making the overland trip due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. She had huge support and produced a brilliant jump of 2.02m to take the gold medal from Eleanor Patterson and Nadezhda Dubovitskaya.
The 20-year-old broke down in tears after securing the win, and she was given a huge ovation after being draped in her national flag.
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“It was very important for me, my family, my country," Mahuchikh told BBC Sport.
"I don't think about competition, training. It is really terrible because Russia started this war. The shells, bombs on our people - the civilians.
“For me, coming here was difficult - three days by car - and to jump here was so difficult psychologically because my heart remains in my country.
"It's so difficult, but I think I've done very well for my country because I protect my country on the track. I think it's a very important thing for my country.
“It was difficult because all the days I am here I have focused on the news in Ukraine. My father is in Ukraine, my friends are in Ukraine and I am worried about them.”
Looking to the future, Mahuchikh said: “It is difficult to go home. I want to go home as soon as possible, but for now I will go to Germany.”
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