Mahuchikh wins emotional high jump gold for Ukraine
Yaroslava Mahuchikh hopes her emotional gold high jump gold at the World Athletics Indoor Championships can be "important" for Ukraine.
Ukrainian high-jumper Yaroslava Mahuchikh revealed the psychological difficulties she has had to overcome after winning an emotional gold medal at the World Athletics Indoor Championships.
The 20-year-old had to undertake a three-day car journey to reach the competition in Belgrade after her country was invaded by neighbouring Russia in late February.
Mahuchikh, who claimed bronze at last year's Olympic Games in Tokyo, produced a clearance of 2.02m with her third and final attempt, beating Australia's Eleanor Patterson and Kazakhstan's Nadezhda Dubovitskaya to gold.
Speaking after her triumph, an emotional Mahuchikh discussed the difficulties she faced in leaving for Serbia, saying she could not concentrate on her preparations but hoped she had achieved something important for her homeland.
"It was very important for me, my family, my country," Mahuchikh told BBC Sport. "I don't think about competition, training.
"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."
At last year's Tokyo Olympics, Mahuchikh was beaten to the gold medal by Mariya Lasitskene, who was representing the Russian Olympic Committee.
The World Athletics Indoor Championships, which finish on Sunday, are one of numerous major sporting events to exclude Russian athletes, including Lasitskene, as part of world sport's backlash to the invasion.