German long jumper Malaika Mihambo (© AFP / Getty Images)
Germany’s Malaika Mihambo delighted the home crowd at the ISTAF Indoor Dusseldorf, sailing out to a world-leading 6.96m to win the long jump at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Silver meeting on Sunday (20).
The world, European and Olympic champion struggled with her run-up for most of the competition. She opened with 6.39m and didn’t improve on that for the next four rounds, taking off well behind the line with most of her efforts. By the time Mihambo took the runway for her final jump, she was sitting in third place behind Hungary’s Diana Lesti (6.53m) and Filippa Fotopoulou of Cyprus (6.42m).
But the 28-year-old nailed her take-off on her final jump and landed at 6.96m, smashing the meeting record of 6.79m that had been set by Ivana Vuleta in 2016.
“Before my last jump, I knew that 6.39m wouldn't be my last word,” said Mihambo. “Unfortunately the timing of some of my jumps weren't perfect, that cost me 30 to 40 centimetres, but that motivated me to jump better. It was amazing to jump with spectators cheering us on in the arena.”
Mihambo intends to contest the 60m and long jump at the German Indoor Championships next weekend, where she will wrap up her indoor season.
World leader Ewa Swoboda dominated the 60m. The 2019 European indoor champion led a Polish 1-2 as she won in 7.10 from hurdles specialist Pia Skrzyszowska, who set a PB of 7.22 for second place. The Polish pair also finished first and second in their heat, running 7.12 and 7.27 respectively.
Pole vaulter Bo Kanda Lita Baehre was another German jumps winner. The world and Olympic finalist had first-time clearances up to and including 5.71m, as did Piotr Lisek. Three other men also cleared 5.71m, then the five remaining athletes all passed at 5.76m and went straight to 5.81m. Lita Baehre was the only man to go clear at 5.81m, doing so on his second try to equal his outright PB.
Elsewhere, European indoor champion Nadine Visser won the 60m hurdles in 7.93 and Arthur Cisse took the men’s 60m in 6.56.