Track and field athlete Malaika Mihambo defended her world title in the long jump with 7.12 meters. With her victory in Eugene on Sunday (local time), the Olympic champion is now the only German besides Heike Drechsler to have won long jump gold twice at a World Championships.
“It was only 7.12 meters today, but I’m still very happy that I was able to defend my title,” said Mihambo over the stadium microphone.
After two failed attempts, the 28-year-old had to worry about being among the top eight jumpers in the final and being able to complete the other three jumps. After 6.98 meters in the third attempt, Mihambo was able to breathe a sigh of relief and promptly moved up to second place.
In the fourth jump she managed a jump of 7.09 meters, with which she took the lead. The last attempt then brought the winning distance – like a year ago in Tokyo. This time, however, she had already secured the title before the jump. The 7.12 meters was one centimeter less than the world record for the year by Australian Brooke Buschkuehl.
After the EM gold in 2018, the World Cup gold in 2019 and the Olympic victory in Tokyo in 2021, Mihambo has now won the fourth major title of her career. As a two-time world champion, the 28-year-old draws level with her role model Heike Drechsler, who won gold in 1983 and 1993. Merle Homeier, the second German starter, missed the final with her 6.09 meters in qualifying.
After bronze for the women’s 4×100 meter relay, Mihambo’s title is only the second podium finish for the German Athletics Association at the first World Championships in the USA. But she didn’t feel any additional pressure because of that: “I don’t worry about it, I just try to stay positive, do a good competition and focus on myself and on what I want to do right,” said the native of Heidelberg said before the final.
Mihambo had only jumped over seven meters once this season. Right at the start you get 7.09 meters in Birmingham. On the way to the World Cup and European Championships, the athlete from LG Kurpfalz became champion for the sixth time at the German championships in Berlin at the end of June and had successfully started the title triple project, but she was at the seven-meter mark with her best sentence at 6.85 meters has not yet come close again. In the qualification in Eugene, she had landed her only jump after 6.84 meters and thus had the second best distance.
In contrast to the Olympic year, Mihambo’s run-up fits again this season. “The inrun is much more stable. I feel safer, I’m faster, my sprint technique is better again,” she said before the World Championships. “So it’s definitely looking better than last year.” The speeds are similar to 2019 – and back then she became world champion in Doha with a strong 7.30 meters.
At the end of the World Cup day, pole vault star Armand Duplantis broke his own world record again. The 22-year-old Swede crossed 6.21 meters at the end of the World Cup on Sunday (local time), surpassing the old record by one centimeter.
For Duplantis it is the third world record this year. On March 7th he had crossed 6.20 meters at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade and two weeks earlier in the same place 6.19 meters. In pole vaulting, world records achieved indoors and outdoors are equal.