Russian wins third world title on trot after being pushed by teenage talent Yaroslava Mahuchikh of Ukraine

Mariya Lasitskene’s reign as queen of the high jump continued in the Qatari capital on Monday as she jumped 2.04m to take her third consecutive world title. But a great contest saw her challenged by Ukrainian prodigy Yaroslava Mahuchikh, who broke the world under-20 record twice with 2.02m and 2.04m.

Lasitskene won courtesy of her perfect record up to 2.04m, whereas Mahuchikh failed several heights during the evening, including her first two tries at 2.04m.

Lasitskene, who competes as an authorised neutral athlete, attempted 2.08m as well in an effort to get the Russian record, but her failures at that height were her only blips of the night.

Asked how she recovered from a rare defeat at the recent United States versus Europe match in Minsk, Lasitskene said: “I have already forgotten about that competition as it didn’t make me happy. I was asked to listen to my coach and everything would be okay. I listened to everything – and I won – but I struggled today for every jump.”

Why did she struggle? Lasitskene suggested her technique was not perfect but added: “The main thing is that the bar stays on the uprights.”

Mahuchikh only turned 18 on September 19 and the reigning Youth Olympics champion enjoyed a breakthrough performance as she improved her PB of 2.00m twice.

“I had two personal bests and if my coach (Tetyana Stepanova) didn’t support me then I don’t think I would have done it,” she said.

“Always we finish after my PB but after 2.02m I wanted to improve,” she said. “My coach said ‘jump and believe in yourself’.”

Lasitskene missed the Olympics in Rio and on next year’s Tokyo Games she said: “I just want to enjoy my day today and enjoy it to the full. Of course the Olympics preparation is going on and this was one step in the process.”

Vashti Cunningham of the United States placed fourth with a PB of 2.00m while Yuliya Levchenko, the Ukrainian who won The Match in Minsk, was fourth, also with 2.00m.

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