Olympic and world long jump champion Malaika Mihambo (© Getty Images)
Some of the world’s best long jumpers will battle in Birmingham when the Wanda Diamond League meeting returns to the recently redeveloped Alexander Stadium on 21 May.
Olympic and world champion Malaika Mihambo, two-time world indoor champion Ivana Vuleta, world silver medallist Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk and world indoor bronze medallist Lorraine Ugen have been announced for the Müller Birmingham Diamond League, with 50 days to go until the event.
Germany’s Mihambo won her first global gold with a 7.30m leap to secure the world title in Doha in 2019 and became the Olympic champion in Tokyo in a compelling competition during which the top eight women leapt beyond 6.80m for the first time in history.
“In spite of my success in Tokyo, last year had many challenges and it was important for me to get totally healthy before building towards the defence of my world and European titles this year,” said the 28-year-old, who won in Birmingham in 2018.
“Medals are important, but I always want to improve and to jump further. I’ve trained well throughout the winter, and I’ve enjoyed the process, but now I’m looking forward to getting back into competition and Birmingham will provide me with the opportunity to set a benchmark in a very strong field.”
Vuleta is a proven championship performer and the Serbian 31-year-old successfully defended her world indoor title on home soil in Birmingham last month with a leap of 7.06m.
“I owed it to myself to win in Serbia and it meant so much to achieve that in front of a home crowd,” said the 2021 Wanda Diamond League champion.
“I’ve enjoyed a successful career so far, but I have big goals still to achieve – not least improving on my World Championships bronze medals – and I hope to get my season off to a strong start in Birmingham.”
Ukrainian Bekh-Romanchuk won an emotional silver medal at the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22 in the triple jump and will return to her specialist discipline in Birmingham.
“My medal in Belgrade was for my country and my people,” said the 26-year-old. “While my heart remains in Ukraine, I cannot lose sight of my dreams. I finished second in the European Championships in 2018 and the World Championships in 2019, and my aim is to improve on both of those positions this summer. I’m looking forward to getting my long jump campaign underway in Birmingham.”
British indoor record-holder Ugen finished third in Belgrade with a best of 6.82m, matching her podium performance from the World Indoor Championships in Portland in 2016.
“I was delighted to take bronze at the World Indoors, but I know I have to be more consistent with my jumps and I’m confident I can achieve that,” she said.
“Opening my season with a strong performance in front of a home crowd at the Alexander Stadium will give me confidence ahead of the rest of the season, including – I hope – Eugene for the World Athletics Championships and a return to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games later in the summer.”
Organisers for World Athletics