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Report25 Jul 2022

Mihambo successfully defends world long jump title in Oregon


World long jump champion Malaika Mihambo in Oregon (Β© AFP / Getty Images)

The biggest question of the women’s long jump on Sunday, the final day of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22, was whether Germany’s Malaika Mihambo could keep up her excellence as the world and Olympic champion.

Her success was in doubt for the early stages of the event.

She fouled on her first attempt. The crowd seemed to collectively flinch on her second jump, their eyes on the board. As she got up from the sand, the board flashed red. She had fouled again and had no mark.

She put her hands on her head in frustration. At this point, she would need to reach beyond 6.69m to even continue into the second half of the competition.

“I felt like, ‘Oh no, it cannot be true’,” she said. “But I am ready for such situations, and I know that I can do better and just had to push myself.”

The pressure seemed to work. She launched a 6.98m jump when it really counted and saved herself, and she went on to become a two-time world champion with a jump of 7.12m.

Nigeria’s Ese Brume, who previously took bronze at the Olympics and the 2019 World Championships, improved to silver with a season’s best of 7.02m on her third jump.

Brazil’s Letiticia Oro Melo opened with a 6.89m, a huge personal best for the 24-year-old, and a distance that carried her to bronze despite four consecutive fouls at the end of the competition. Oro Melo won Brazil’s first medal in the event.

Australia’s Brooke Buschkuehl, who entered the competition with the world’s longest jump, finished in fifth with 6.87m. This was the best ever placing by Australia in the event after she finished in sixth in 2017.

In an extremely competitive final, just seven centimetres separated third to eighth place.

Mihambo finished the competition at the peak of her strength. As she attempted her final jump, she was already sitting in a guaranteed gold position at 7.09m from her fourth attempt. The crowd was still in suspense, though, waiting to see whether she could pass Buschkuel’s world-leading distance of 7.13m.

Mihambo cheered by pulling her arms into her chest as she leapt up from the sandpit. It was measured at 7.12m, just a centimetre off the world lead. Mihambo still grinned.

Brume was the first of the field to reach a distance beyond seven metres when she achieved a 7.02m jump on her third attempt and was momentarily in the gold medal position. She was trying hard to get Nigeria’s first gold medal in the event, but ultimately missed it.

While Brume was competing in the long jump, Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan became the 100m hurdles champion after setting a world record time in the semifinal.

“Tobi Amusan is my best friend, everybody knows,” said Brume. “It was amazing for us because this is what we are trained for. She deserves it so much.”

She said she was happy with how her team had all improved.

“Last championships, we just got one medal. Now we are getting out with two medals,” she said. “It is a wonderful night for Nigeria, for all of us.”

Madeline Ryan for World Athletics


πŸ₯‡ Malaika Mihambo πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ GER 7.12m SB
πŸ₯ˆ Ese Brume πŸ‡³πŸ‡¬ NGR 7.02m SB
πŸ₯‰ Leticia Oro Melo πŸ‡§πŸ‡· BRA 6.89m PB
  Full results