It is the reason why the stadium was packed on Thursday evening despite the warning of severe weather and rain and why the audience, some of whom were wet, was in a good mood. as Malaika Mihambo came out of the catacombs and waved both hands in the typical way, the background noise made it clear: She is the main attraction here. And even if 7.03 meters were not enough to defend the title – for Mihambo it was probably her best competition in recent years.
At the World Championships in Eugene a month ago, Mihambo jumped nine centimeters further than in Munich. But she had not yet been infected with Corona. In advance of European Championships she couldn’t train for ten days and until shortly before the European Championships it wasn’t clear whether she would even compete. When she did, she showed why in qualifying: “I feel pretty good, the 6.99 meters speak for themselves,” said Mihambo. However, she notices, added the 28-year-old, that she gets tired more quickly.
In the final on Thursday, the 31,000 spectators in the Olympic Stadium were treated to drama and excitement. The Serbian Ivana Vuleta-Spankovic jumped 7.06 meters in the first attempt. This first jump was not only Vuelta’s season best, but also the longest at European Championships since 1998: “It was one of the strongest and most beautiful competitions of my career,” said Vuleta, “I love jumping in the rain.”
Mihambo shows that she can jump over seven meters even shortly after a corona infection
Mihambo followed up on her second attempt with 7.03 meters, which was followed by a series of good runs. Just after the last attempt, the audience thought they saw a gold jump, but it was “only” 6.99 meters. “I’m definitely satisfied with the performance. Of course it’s a pity that it wasn’t enough for gold,” said Mihambo on ARD.
Mihambo flew almost 30 centimeters further in Munich than in her 2018 European Championship title in Berlin. She only performed a 7.30 meter jump like in Doha three years ago at the World Championships, defending her title with 7.12 meters in Eugene was her third-best competition distance. She has owned the German track and field stage for years: she was named athlete of the year three times in a row. At the World Championships in Eugene and the Olympic Games in Tokyo, she was the only German to win a gold medal. And now Mihambo has shown that she can jump over seven meters shortly after a corona infection. The Munich audience celebrated them exuberantly.
That saw another emotional long jump moment towards the end. Briton Jazmin Sawyers jumped to 6.80 meters, beating Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk from bronze. In her final pass, she once again put all her strength and jumped far. But her jump was invalid, she had overstepped and screamed out her pain on the track. Romanchuk was still crying during the interviews.
Around the same time, an exhausted Malaika reported to Mihambo already short of breath in front of the TV cameras. “I already noticed the tiredness after the third try,” she said, before collapsing several times a short time later. A circulatory collapse, the association later explained. It was only more than an hour after the competition that Mihambo could be driven out of the stadium with the help of a golf cart. In the night of Friday, the DLV gave the all-clear: Mihambo is doing better again.