* Breaks seven metres three times
* Had flirted with elimination (Adds quotes, detail)
By Steve Keating
DOHA, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Malaika Mihambo took an all or nothing gamble as she soared to the world championship long jump gold on Sunday, with a leap the German said she may never see again.
Owner of the three best jumps of the season coming into the worlds, Mihambo made it four by flying 7.30 metres to land on top of the podium, adding the world title to her European crown.
“In training I don’t remember having managed a jump like that,” said Mihambo. “Today I showed I am capable of such a great jump. I am over the moon.”
Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk took silver with 6.92m, edging out Ese Brume by one centimetre, the Nigerian having to settle for bronze.
Mihambo was the only jumper to get over seven metres, doing so on each of her last three attempts, but after the opening two rounds she was closer to exiting the competition than topping the podium.
After a modest 6.52 with her opening effort and faulting on her second, Mihambo needed something special to get into the top eight and remain in the medal hunt and she delivered that and more by unleashing the best jump in the world this year.
“I can barely realise this,” said Mihambo, after jumping further than anyone in the last 15 years. “There was a really tight moment for me in this competition, my third attempt.
“My first attempt I had too many quick steps and 6.52 was not enough. My second attempt was a default.
“The third attempt it had to be, it had to work. I do not know if I will ever jump that far again in my life.” (Editing by Christian Radnedge and Ken Ferris)