Athlete Profile

Ganna Melnichenko

  • COUNTRY Ukraine Ukraine
  • DATE OF BIRTH 24 APR 1983

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Hanna Melnychenko of Ukraine competes in the Women's Heptathlon High Jump on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 3, 2012 (Getty Images)
Hanna Melnychenko of Ukraine competes in the Women's Heptathlon High Jump on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 3, 2012 (Getty Images)
  • COUNTRY Ukraine Ukraine
  • DATE OF BIRTH 24 APR 1983

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Updated 01 March 2014

 

Hanna Melnychenko, Ukraine (Heptathlon) 

Born 24 April 1983 in Tbilisi (Georgia)

Lives Zaporizhzhya (but represents Poltava region at National competitions as well)

1.78m/65kg

Coach: Dmytro Lyopa

Club: Metallurg Zaporizhzhya

 

 

Hanna Melnychenko grew up in Tbilisi, Georgia, where her grandfather remained after the Second World War (he was Ukrainian but, after suffering injury, he stayed in a Georgian hospital and did not return to Ukraine). There were no lessons in physical culture in school so little Hanna was keen on ballroom dancing and attended circus school. In 1993, together with her mother, she moved to the Ukrainian town of Kremenchug (motherland of her mother) because of hostilities in Georgia.

 

Melnychenko’s teacher of physical culture in Kremenchug identified her sporting talent and advised her to join the athletics group. However, Melnychenko, who came into athletics at the age of 12, didn’t like training and, after some practice sessions, she left athletics. She preferred to dance. Thankfully, her coach, Viktoriya Kozlova, was persistent in her attempts to persuade Melnychenko to return to the sport and she succumbed at the age of 14.

 

The gifted girl’s results improved quickly. One year later Melnychenko became the leader in her training group and one of the most promising athletes in the Poltava region. At the age of 15 she won regional youth competitions in Hurdles and Long Jump. Moreover, Melnychenko fulfilled the standard of Candidate to Sport’s Master (according Ukrainian classification) in the High Jump, clearing 1.70m. It was unexpected because there was no equipment for High Jump training in Kremenchug. 

 

“Hanna was very gifted, thin, lithe and perceptive for technical work,” coach Kozlova recalls. “She was very ambitious. She began to train seriously only after her first wins at youth age.”  Kozlova’s training methods included studies in all athletics events. So Melnychenko was soon able to complete in the Heptathlon. But, because of her weakness in throwing, she could not score impressively either in the Heptathlon or the Pentathlon. 

 

“In 2003 I the won National Championships, in Kiev, but all the Ukrainian leaders didn’t start at this competition, Melnychenko says.

 

 “One year later I appeared as a member of the Ukrainian national athletics team at the European Cup for Combined Events, in Tallinn (Estonia). To be honest, I don’t remember how I competed in Estonia. I just remember I was so proud to compete in the national uniform with a boundless feeling of patriotism.”  Melnychenko scored 5455 points at her first European Cup and finished 10th.

 

At the 2005 European Cup for Combined Events in Bydgoszcz, Poland, Melnychenko set a personal best 5809 points to finish 9th and her name was added to national team list for the U23 European Championships in Erfurt, Germany. “We were not ready to compete in Erfurt, because we planned my peak shape for the European Cup, so I was able to collect only 5502 points and finish13th,” Melnychenko recalled.

 

After that season, Melnychenko’s training programme was seriously changed. She worked a lot to develop her strength. As a result, in 2006, she improved considerably her results in the Shot Put and Javelin Throw. Her speed and power grew as well.  In January, Melnychenko won the Italian Championship in Pentathlon, improving her PB by almost 200 points to 4213. Two weeks later she finished second at the Ukrainian National Indoor Championships with another PB (4283points).

 

During the 2006 summer season, Melnychenko set a Heptathlon PB in the middle of May, finishing second in the IAAF Combined Events Challenge round in Desenzano, Italy, with 5952 points. Two weeks later she improved her PB by 39 points in Götzis, Austria, and on 4 June she finished 3rd at the international Meeting in Arles, France, scoring over 6000 points for the first time. Melnychenko collected 6055 points, but in three events (100m Hurdles, 200m and Long Jump) she benefitted from wind assistance.

 

“At that time we didn’t think about the future European Championships,” her coach says. “Our main event was the European Cup, as usual. Every year, at the beginning of the summer season, we had to prove our place in the national team. It was not easy because Ukrainian heptathletes are very strong and there is big competition in our team. Look at Hanna’s results in 2006. She made 3 Pentathlons and 7 Heptathlons. It was too much, but there is something behind that. There are not the facilities in Kremenchug to train for such events as High Jump and Javelin throwing and to improve the technical elements in these events. So we used any opportunity to compete and to take some more practice.”

 

At the 2006 European Cup, in Arles, Melnychenko set her PB without wind assistance, scoring 6010 points and finishing 7th. However, as it would have been too much to expect her to peak again for the European Championships, in Göteborg, she took part mainly to support her physical shape. Though she finished 16th in Sweden (5942 points) she set two season’s best results in 200m (24.49) and 800m (2:17.93).

 

At the end of January 2007, Melnychenko won the Italian Indoor Championships once more (collecting a PB 4536 points) and fulfilled the standard of International Class Sports Master (Ukrainian classification). She accepted an invitation for the European Indoor Championships, in Birmingham, where she set her best indoor result in the High Jump (1.82m) but finished 10th with 4397 points.

 

“We decided that there was no reason to force my shape for the European Indoors because we had the goal to join the Ukrainian team for the World University Games and maybe to get the win there,” Melnychenko explains.  She checked her shape at the European Cup for Combined Events (First League), in Szczecin, Poland, finishing 3rd and scoring her best total in Heptathlon (6143 points) but she had wind assistance in two events – 200m (25.15) and Long Jump (6.43).

 

After this success, Melnychenko was added to the national team for the World Championships, in Osaka. But first she went to Bangkok, to compete at World University Games. There she was unable to summon her strength because of very hot weather and high humidity. In the Long Jump, Melnychenko made an incorrect take off and suffered an injury. She continued with two slight tears of ligaments on her take off foot so, instead of winning, she took 3rd place with a modest 5852 points.

 

Melnychenko hoped to recover in time for the World Championships, although her foot was in plaster. However, although she tried, she could not finish the first event, the 100m Hurdles.  

 

In 2008, Melnychenko began the summer season with two personal records in quick succession. First, she finished second in Desenzano, scoring 6195 points, and, one month later, at the beginning of June, she took second place at the National Championships, in Yalta, with 6203 points.  She went to the European Cup for Combined Events, in Hengelo, the Netherlands, as one of the favourites and confirmed her great shape by winning this competition for the first time with a PB 6306 points. Later, in the autumn, Melnychenko received the title of Honoured Sports Master (the highest official sports title in Ukraine) thanks to her win in Hengelo.

 

Yet Melnychenko’s win and high score at the European Cup didn’t guarantee her a place in her national Olympic team. In the middle of July she had to confirm her result at a local competition in Kiev. She had a clear win over Lyudmyla Yosypenko and booked her ticket to Beijing, scoring her fourth PB (6349) during that summer season, but it could not be official because of a hand timed 800m.

 

“I understand our national team’s management,” Melnychenko says. “They wanted to send the strongest team to the Olympic Games. But the competition in Kiev was unnecessary. Had I had more time, I would have been able to score higher in Beijing.” She finished 14th, scoring 6165 points. After three weeks of rest (doing only warm-ups) Melnychenko finished the season with 7th place in Talence, scoring 3 points more than in Beijing and beating her Olympic results in three events (High Jump, Javelin and 800m).

 

In the 2009 summer season, Melnychenko began with 2nd place in Desenzano with 6077 points. On 31 May she finished second in Götzis, setting a Personal Best 6445 points and was beaten only by her compatriot, Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska. One month later, in Szczecin, Melnychenko took her second victory at the European Cup for Combined Events, with 6380 points, to take her place in the national team for the World Championships in Berlin.

 

Hanna had considerably improved her speed and technical skills in Hurdles and Long Jump and was ready to fight for medals at the World Championships, but made some gross errors on the first day of the Heptathlon in Berlin. “I was so nervous and wanted to do everything impeccably,” Melnychenko analyses. “I was my main mistake. I had such great shape and everything I needed to compete for my own pleasure. I drew the correct conclusion after 100m Hurdles and just enjoyed my further performance in Berlin, setting two PBs in Long Jump (6.43) and 800m (2:12.85). But it wasn’t enough to set new PB in Heptathlon and get a medal. In Berlin I finished sixth with 6414 points. But I think that Championships was my best international event.”

 

Melnychenko had wanted to miss all of 2010 to get a full rest, but her shape stayed on such a high level that she decided to try to realise it in competitions. She got her third title of European Cup winner and was selected for the European Championships. But in Barcelona, Hanna fouled in Long Jump and didn’t see the reason to finish that Heptathlon.

 

Her physical tiredness turned to back injury. She tried to compete during the indoor season 2011, but pain was too tangible to show high results. All spring and summer season 2011 she dedicated to rehabilitation.

 

“My life changed cardinally at September 2011.” Hanna says. “I moved to Zaporizhzhya to live together with my boyfriend, Oleksiy Kasyanov and certainly I wanted to be near him always. I had to change training group. After a serious conversation with coach Dmytro Lyopa, I entered his group. So from October 2011 I’m training together with my darling. My training changed as well.”

 

At the National Indoor Cup 2012 in Zaporizhzhya Melnychenko just wanted to make something like a test competition to check results of new work with a new coach and was very surprised by her result in Pentathlon (4513), which was just below her PB. 

 

“After such great performance we decided to try to compete for all one is worth at the National Indoor Championships.” Hanna says. “In Sumy I improved my PB in Pentathlon to 4748 points and set four Indoor PBs in High Jump (1.84), Shot Put (13.89), Long Jump (6.41) and 800m (2:14.35). To be honest we didn’t expect that our work will have such quick and so high results. Nevertheless, I was so happy to have the ability to compete at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul. I had 1.5 years’ break from international competitions and it was very important for me to recollect this special atmosphere and all physical and psychological feelings at the beginning of the Olympic year.”

 

At the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Hanna finished  seventh, scored 4623 points and was very satisfied with her performance in Turkey.  “First of all I didn’t expect to show so high a result at the end of winter season without any special preparation.” Melnychenko summarised. “Second, we had fantastic competitions with new World Indoor record by Nataliya Dobrynska. I enjoyed the interesting struggle between Nataliya and Jessica Ennis as well as my own fight with Russian Ekaterina Bolshova and Belarusian Yana Maksimava. I was full of aspiration for going to Portugal’s training camp and starting preparation for the Olympic summer.”

 

During spring 2012, Melnychenko paid a lot of attention to improving her speed and her technical skills in different throws. The first results of changes in her preparation were impressive. At the National Combined Events Championships in Yalta (27-28 May) she set PBs in Long Jump (6.56m) and Shot Put (14.05m). Hanna won and scored 6407 points, which was only 38 points less than her Personal Best.

 

Two weeks later she decided to perform at the National Championships in Long Jump only and improved her PB to 6.74 in qualification. Hanna showed very far jumps in the final as well, but had failures in first and second round and in the third attempt, although she missed the board by more than 50cm, landed at 6.25m.

 

“I felt that my shape is great.” Melnychenko said. “I wanted to go to the European Championships in Helsinki with the gold medal goal. But at that time I had a little pain in my Achilles and we decided to take a break for treatment. In the same time we hadn’t ability to go to the training camp we needed that time and were forced to train at the football field.”

 

Although Melnychenko was in high spirits before the Olympic Games, quoting her good performances in training and expecting an interesting fight in London and a good incentive to show her best performance, things did not go as she had planned.

 

“In spite of that fact I had great shape before London Olympics, there was one big “BUT”. My heel and all area around it became inflamed. Certainly I competed in London with pain and a swollen foot.”

 

Even though feeling strong pain, Melnychenko was able to set at the London Olympics one Personal Best at 200m (24.09) and several Season Bests at 100m Hurdles (13.32), Javelin (43.86) and 800m  (2:12.90). Finally she scored 6392 points and finished ninth at her second Olympic Games.

 

“It looked like I had no luck to fight for medals at major events,” Hanna says. “At least I took it easy and continued my preparation for the next year. I even wanted to miss European Indoors in Göteborg, but after successful performance at Ukrainian National Cup in Zaporizhzhya, where I won with a total of 4623 points, we changed our opinion.”

 

In Göteborg  Melnychenko a had strong start and finished very close to her indoor Personal Bests in 60m Hurdles (8.27), High Jump (1.81) and Shot Put (13.82). But her favourite event, Long Jump, became the most unexpected stumbling block for her. In her best jump Hanna landed at 6.17m only and even said ‘Good-bye to a possible medal at the European Indoor Championships.

 

“I knew that 800m isn’t my strongest discipline,” Melnychenko recalls. “On the one hand I had great shape and could try to set my PB in that event, which meant to take a chance to fight even for the gold medal. But on the other hand I feared that I would not be able to finish if I took a high speed from the start. Only my boyfriend calmed me down before the decisive race.”

 

After she finished with 2:17.01 at 800m in Göteborg and scored 4608 points, Melnychenko couldn’t believe that she took a bronze medal from those Championships. “I never understood athletes who say that they took so long-awaited medal. And only after getting my Göteborg bronze I pronounced the words consciously.”

 

Though she was so happy and felt she had wings, Melnychenko decided to prepare for summer season only in Long Jump. “But this event turned out to be much craftier than I expected. I could not cope with my run-up speed before take-off and my Long Jump technique was broken.”

 

That is why Melnychenko decided to start her summer season 2013 from the annual Götzis Heptathlon, but was disappointed once more by a very low Javelin result. “It was my biggest problem. Usually I scored a strong sum during first day of Heptathlon and traditionally lost my high position after Javelin, which makes me unable me to fight for medals at major summer competitions. I had even decided to miss all the summer season, but changed my mind looking at my boyfriend’s training. At that time Oleksiy Kasyanov had stress fracture of his foot, but he didn’t even think to give up and continued to train every day though he had to make all exercises on one leg. I looked at him and felt too shy. I was healthy, had no pain but was capricious like a baby. His desire, persistence and patience inspired me to begin serious preparation for the World Championships in Moscow.”

 

She won Heptathlon special meeting in Kladno with 6416 points and finished second at the European Combined Events Cup in Tallinn with a total of 6260. Hanna cut Javelin throwing from her practices completely and just checked her approach in this event a very few day before the Moscow Worlds. Two leaders of women’s Heptathlon, British Olympic champion Jessica Ennis and Russian World champion Tatyana Chernova, didn’t perform in Moscow because of injuries. “In such case I was sure I can get a medal in Moscow but I didn’t even think about gold. Being a Heptathlon leader after 5 events I got cold feet before Javelin. And only after the first attempt (40.72m) I breathed with relief” Hanna said.

 

Finally Hanna scored at the Moscow World Championships a Personal Best 6586 (13.29 – 100mH, 1.86 PB= – HJ, 13.85 – SP, 23.87 – 200m, 6.49 – LJ, 41.87 – JT, 2:09.85 PB – 800m) and took the brightest and most important victory in her career. “It isn’t my gold only,” Melnychenko said in the mixed zone. “We got it together with my coach Dmytro Lyopa and my boyfriend Oleksiy Kasyanov, who was my personal psychologist here and a shining example on the way to this Worlds.”

 

In Moscow Hanna completed her fourth Heptathlon in 2013 and she decided to finish the season, feeling tired and exhausted. “After coming back home I threw my Moscow bag into the corner of the room without any desire to sort things out. After two weeks of rest, I found my athletics equipment, spikes and felt overwhelming desire to compete more and more! It was so interesting to me to see how I’ll feel performing with the World champion title. That is why I changed my mind and went to Talence.”

 

On 15 September, 2013 Melnychenko won in France with 6308 points and took the overall victory in the IAAF Combined Events Challenge to cap the most successful year in Hanna’s athletics career.

 

In winter 2014 Melnychenko, has received a personal invitation from the IAAF to perform at World Indoor Championships in Sopot based on her 2013 summer results. Hanna took it with pleasure and focused on individual events at competitions during the indoor season. “I would have liked to perform at some combined events meeting completed by three disciplines to check my shape, but unfortunately there were no meetings which had such programme for women.” Nevertheless Melnychenko set Personal Bests at 60m Hurdles (8.20) and Shot Put (14.19m) at the National Indoor Cup in Zaporizhzhya on 27 January.

 

“I don’t want to make any prediction for World Indoors in Sopot as I have some technical problems with my favourite Long Jump. We’ll have very strong field, but I know I’ll do all possible and impossible things to fight for the podium. After the Moscow win I became more confident and stronger mentally” Melnychenko said.

 

Finally, as a note on her education, in 2002 Melnychenko finished primary-school teachers' training college in Kremenchug and, in 2007, she finished Polytechnic University in Kremenchug with the specialty of land engineering.

 

Hanna’s boyfriend is Ukrainian National record’s holder in Heptathlon Oleksiy Kasyanov. Melnychenko has a 9-years old Scottish lop-eared cat named Chicha. Hanna’s hobby is design of home interior.

  

Personal Bests

Heptathlon: 6586            

Pentathlon (i): 4748       

  

Yearly Progression

Heptathlon/Pentathlon:  2001: 4907/-; 2002: 5083/3708; 2003: 5523/-; 2004: 5720/4023; 2005: 5809/4022; 2006: 6010 (6055w)/4283; 2007: 6143/4536; 2008: 6306/4218; 2009: 6445/-; 2010: 6098/-; 2011:-/4170; 2012: 6407/4748; 2013: 6586/4623; 2014: -/-.

 

Career Highlights

2004

10th

European Cup (First League)

2005

9th

European Cup

2005

13th

European U23 Championships

2006

7th

European Cup

2006

16th

European Championships

2007

10th

European Indoor Championships

2007

3rd

European Cup (First League)

2007

3rd

World University Games

2007

dnf

World Championships

2008

1st

European Cup

2008

14th

Olympic Games

2009

1st

European Cup

2009

6th

World Championships

2010

1st

European Cup

2010

dnf

European Championships

2010

1st

Police European Championships

2012

7th

World Indoor Championships

2012

9th

Olympic Games

2013

3rd

European Indoor Championships

2013

2nd

European Cup

2013

1st

World Championships

 

Prepared by Liudmyla Iakusheva for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2009-2014.

 

 

 

 

Personal Best - Outdoor
Performance Wind Place Date
200 Metres 23.85 +1.0 Kladno 08 JUN 2013
800 Metres 2:09.85 Moskva (Luzhniki) 13 AUG 2013
100 Metres Hurdles 13.26 +1.1 Kladno 08 JUN 2013
High Jump 1.86 Barcelona (Estadio Olímpico) 30 JUL 2010
High Jump 1.86 Moskva (Luzhniki) 12 AUG 2013
High Jump 1.86 Firenze 19 MAY 2007
Long Jump 6.74 +1.7 Yalta 12 JUN 2012
Shot Put 14.09 Götzis (Mösle-Stadium) 25 MAY 2013
Javelin Throw 45.11 Götzis (Mösle-Stadium) 31 MAY 2009
Heptathlon 6586 Moskva (Luzhniki) 13 AUG 2013
Personal Best - Indoor
Performance Wind Place Date
800 Metres 2:14.35 Sumy 16 FEB 2012
60 Metres Hurdles 8.18 Sopot (Ergo Arena) 07 MAR 2014
High Jump 1.84 Sumy 16 FEB 2012
High Jump 1.84 Istanbul (Ataköy Arena) 09 MAR 2012
Long Jump 6.41 Sumy 16 FEB 2012
Shot Put 14.19 Zaporizhzhya 27 JAN 2014
Pentathlon 4748 Sumy 16 FEB 2012
Progression - Outdoor showShow All Graphs
200 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Wind Place Date
2014 24.64 -1.5 Ribeira Brava 05 JUL
2013 23.85 +1.0 Kladno 08 JUN
2012 24.09 +0.6 London (OP) 03 AUG
2010 24.74 -0.3 Kladno 15 JUN
2009 24.11 0.0 Berlin (Olympiastadion) 15 AUG
2008 24.35 0.0 Beijing (National Stadium) 15 AUG
2007 24.51 +0.5 Bangkok 09 AUG
2006 24.49 +0.8 Göteborg 07 AUG
2005 24.85 +0.6 Bydgoszcz 02 JUL
2004 25.02 +0.2 Kyiv 12 JUN
800 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2014 2:16.90 Ribeira Brava 06 JUL
2013 2:09.85 Moskva (Luzhniki) 13 AUG
2012 2:12.90 London (OP) 04 AUG
2010 2:16.37 Tallinn 27 JUN
2009 2:12.85 Berlin (Olympiastadion) 16 AUG
2008 2:13.19 Talence 14 SEP
2007 2:17.05 Szczecin 08 JUL
2006 2:17.93 Göteborg 08 AUG
2005 2:25.38 Salò 08 MAY
2004 2:22.0 Kyiv 04 JUL
100 Metres Hurdles Show Graphshow
Performance Wind Place Date
2014 13.60 -1.1 Talence 20 SEP
2013 13.26 +1.1 Kladno 08 JUN
2012 13.32 +2.0 London (OP) 03 AUG
2010 13.71 +0.9 Kladno 15 JUN
2009 13.40 +0.7 Desenzano del Garda (Stadio Tre Stelle) 09 MAY
2008 13.28 +1.4 Hengelo 28 JUN
2007 13.66 +0.9 Szczecin 07 JUL
2006 13.48 +0.1 Desenzano del Garda (Stadio Tre Stelle) 13 MAY
2005 13.75 +0.7 Bydgoszcz 02 JUL
2004 13.82 +1.8 Tallinn 03 JUL
High Jump Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2014 1.74 Talence 20 SEP
2013 1.86 Moskva (Luzhniki) 12 AUG
2012 1.82 Talence 15 SEP
2012 1.82 Yalta 27 MAY
2010 1.86 Barcelona (Estadio Olímpico) 30 JUL
2009 1.85 Kyiv 03 AUG
2008 1.82 Talence 13 SEP
2007 1.86 Firenze 19 MAY
2006 1.81 Talence 16 SEP
2005 1.84 Bydgoszcz 02 JUL
2004 1.84 Woerden 20 MAY
Long Jump Show Graphshow
Performance Wind Place Date
2014 6.23 +1.0 Ribeira Brava 06 JUL
2013 6.49 +0.2 Moskva (Luzhniki) 13 AUG
2012 6.74 +1.7 Yalta 12 JUN
2010 6.27 +1.1 Kladno 16 JUN
2009 6.43 +0.8 Berlin (Olympiastadion) 16 AUG
2008 6.40 0.0 Beijing (National Stadium) 16 AUG
2007 6.31 +1.9 Bangkok 10 AUG
2007 6.31 +1.9 Bangkok 10 AUG
2006 6.38 0.0 Desenzano del Garda (Stadio Tre Stelle) 14 MAY
2005 6.15 0.0 Erfurt 15 JUL
2004 6.38 +0.5 Hexham 18 JUL
Shot Put Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2014 13.05 Ribeira Brava 05 JUL
2013 14.09 Götzis (Mösle-Stadium) 25 MAY
2012 14.05 Yalta 27 MAY
2010 13.28 Barcelona (Estadio Olímpico) 30 JUL
2009 13.70 Berlin (Olympiastadion) 15 AUG
2008 13.99 Desenzano del Garda (Stadio Tre Stelle) 10 MAY
2007 13.34 Szczecin 07 JUL
2006 13.14 Götzis (Mösle-Stadium) 27 MAY
2005 12.04 Salò 07 MAY
Javelin Throw Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2014 36.41 Ribeira Brava 06 JUL
2013 41.87 Moskva (Luzhniki) 13 AUG
2012 43.86 London (OP) 04 AUG
2010 39.93 Talence 19 SEP
2009 45.11 Götzis (Mösle-Stadium) 31 MAY
2008 43.27 Talence 14 SEP
2007 37.28 Szczecin 08 JUL
2006 41.11 Götzis (Mösle-Stadium) 28 MAY
2005 40.58 Bydgoszcz 03 JUL
Heptathlon Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2014 5937 Ribeira Brava 06 JUL
2013 6586 Moskva (Luzhniki) 13 AUG
2012 6407 Yalta 28 MAY
2010 6098 Tallinn 27 JUN
2009 6445 Götzis (Mösle-Stadium) 31 MAY
2008 6306 Hengelo 29 JUN
2007 6143 Szczecin 08 JUL
2006 6010 Arles 02 JUL
2005 5809 Bydgoszcz 03 JUL
2004 5720 Woerden 21 MAY
2003 5523 Kyiv 04 JUL
2002 5083 Bila Tserkva 17 MAY
Progression - Indoor showShow All Graphs
800 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2014 2:18.40 Sopot (Ergo Arena) 07 MAR
2013 2:17.01 Göteborg (Scandinavium) 01 MAR
2013 2:17.01 Zaporizhzhya 30 JAN
2012 2:14.35 Sumy 16 FEB
2007 2:19.43 Ancona (Banca Marche Palas) 28 JAN
2006 2:24.48 Sumy 15 FEB
60 Metres Hurdles Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2014 8.18 Sopot (Ergo Arena) 07 MAR
2013 8.27 Göteborg (Scandinavium) 01 MAR
2012 8.34 Sumy 16 FEB
2007 8.33 Ancona (Banca Marche Palas) 28 JAN
2006 8.57 Sumy 15 FEB
High Jump Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2014 1.81 Sopot (Ergo Arena) 07 MAR
2013 1.81 Göteborg (Scandinavium) 01 MAR
2012 1.84 Istanbul (Ataköy Arena) 09 MAR
2012 1.84 Sumy 16 FEB
2007 1.81 Ancona (Banca Marche Palas) 28 JAN
2006 1.78 Sumy 15 FEB
Long Jump Show Graphshow
Performance Wind Place Date
2014 6.27 Sopot (Ergo Arena) 07 MAR
2013 6.39 Zaporizhzhya 30 JAN
2012 6.41 Sumy 16 FEB
2010 6.37 Sumy 18 FEB
2007 6.37 Ancona (Banca Marche Palas) 28 JAN
2006 6.07 Sumy 15 FEB
Shot Put Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2014 14.19 Zaporizhzhya 27 JAN
2013 13.82 Göteborg (Scandinavium) 01 MAR
2012 13.89 Sumy 16 FEB
2010 13.90 Sumy 17 FEB
2007 13.07 Ancona (Banca Marche Palas) 28 JAN
2006 12.48 Sumy 15 FEB
Pentathlon Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2014 4587 Sopot (Ergo Arena) 07 MAR
2013 4623 Zaporizhzhya 30 JAN
2012 4748 Sumy 16 FEB
2011 4170 Sumy 15 FEB
2010 4373 Zaporizhzhya 30 JAN
2008 4218 Sumy 23 FEB
2007 4536 Ancona (Banca Marche Palas) 28 JAN
2006 4283 Sumy 15 FEB
2005 4022 Sumy 12 FEB
2004 4023 Sumy 14 FEB
Honours - Pentathlon
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
IAAF World Indoor Championships 2014 7 4587 Sopot (Ergo Arena) 07 MAR 2014
IAAF World Indoor Championships 2012 7 4623 Istanbul (Ataköy Arena) 09 MAR 2012
Honours - Heptathlon
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
14th IAAF World Championships 1 6586 Moskva (Luzhniki) 13 AUG 2013
The XXX Olympic Games 10 6392 London (OP) 04 AUG 2012
12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 6 6414 Berlin (Olympiastadion) 16 AUG 2009
The XXIX Olympic Games 14 6165 Beijing (National Stadium) 16 AUG 2008
11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics DNF Osaka (Nagai Stadium) 26 AUG 2007

Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.

Updated 01 March 2014

 

Hanna Melnychenko, Ukraine (Heptathlon) 

Born 24 April 1983 in Tbilisi (Georgia)

Lives Zaporizhzhya (but represents Poltava region at National competitions as well)

1.78m/65kg

Coach: Dmytro Lyopa

Club: Metallurg Zaporizhzhya

 

 

Hanna Melnychenko grew up in Tbilisi, Georgia, where her grandfather remained after the Second World War (he was Ukrainian but, after suffering injury, he stayed in a Georgian hospital and did not return to Ukraine). There were no lessons in physical culture in school so little Hanna was keen on ballroom dancing and attended circus school. In 1993, together with her mother, she moved to the Ukrainian town of Kremenchug (motherland of her mother) because of hostilities in Georgia.

 

Melnychenko’s teacher of physical culture in Kremenchug identified her sporting talent and advised her to join the athletics group. However, Melnychenko, who came into athletics at the age of 12, didn’t like training and, after some practice sessions, she left athletics. She preferred to dance. Thankfully, her coach, Viktoriya Kozlova, was persistent in her attempts to persuade Melnychenko to return to the sport and she succumbed at the age of 14.

 

The gifted girl’s results improved quickly. One year later Melnychenko became the leader in her training group and one of the most promising athletes in the Poltava region. At the age of 15 she won regional youth competitions in Hurdles and Long Jump. Moreover, Melnychenko fulfilled the standard of Candidate to Sport’s Master (according Ukrainian classification) in the High Jump, clearing 1.70m. It was unexpected because there was no equipment for High Jump training in Kremenchug. 

 

“Hanna was very gifted, thin, lithe and perceptive for technical work,” coach Kozlova recalls. “She was very ambitious. She began to train seriously only after her first wins at youth age.”  Kozlova’s training methods included studies in all athletics events. So Melnychenko was soon able to complete in the Heptathlon. But, because of her weakness in throwing, she could not score impressively either in the Heptathlon or the Pentathlon. 

 

“In 2003 I the won National Championships, in Kiev, but all the Ukrainian leaders didn’t start at this competition, Melnychenko says.

 

 “One year later I appeared as a member of the Ukrainian national athletics team at the European Cup for Combined Events, in Tallinn (Estonia). To be honest, I don’t remember how I competed in Estonia. I just remember I was so proud to compete in the national uniform with a boundless feeling of patriotism.”  Melnychenko scored 5455 points at her first European Cup and finished 10th.

 

At the 2005 European Cup for Combined Events in Bydgoszcz, Poland, Melnychenko set a personal best 5809 points to finish 9th and her name was added to national team list for the U23 European Championships in Erfurt, Germany. “We were not ready to compete in Erfurt, because we planned my peak shape for the European Cup, so I was able to collect only 5502 points and finish13th,” Melnychenko recalled.

 

After that season, Melnychenko’s training programme was seriously changed. She worked a lot to develop her strength. As a result, in 2006, she improved considerably her results in the Shot Put and Javelin Throw. Her speed and power grew as well.  In January, Melnychenko won the Italian Championship in Pentathlon, improving her PB by almost 200 points to 4213. Two weeks later she finished second at the Ukrainian National Indoor Championships with another PB (4283points).

 

During the 2006 summer season, Melnychenko set a Heptathlon PB in the middle of May, finishing second in the IAAF Combined Events Challenge round in Desenzano, Italy, with 5952 points. Two weeks later she improved her PB by 39 points in Götzis, Austria, and on 4 June she finished 3rd at the international Meeting in Arles, France, scoring over 6000 points for the first time. Melnychenko collected 6055 points, but in three events (100m Hurdles, 200m and Long Jump) she benefitted from wind assistance.

 

“At that time we didn’t think about the future European Championships,” her coach says. “Our main event was the European Cup, as usual. Every year, at the beginning of the summer season, we had to prove our place in the national team. It was not easy because Ukrainian heptathletes are very strong and there is big competition in our team. Look at Hanna’s results in 2006. She made 3 Pentathlons and 7 Heptathlons. It was too much, but there is something behind that. There are not the facilities in Kremenchug to train for such events as High Jump and Javelin throwing and to improve the technical elements in these events. So we used any opportunity to compete and to take some more practice.”

 

At the 2006 European Cup, in Arles, Melnychenko set her PB without wind assistance, scoring 6010 points and finishing 7th. However, as it would have been too much to expect her to peak again for the European Championships, in Göteborg, she took part mainly to support her physical shape. Though she finished 16th in Sweden (5942 points) she set two season’s best results in 200m (24.49) and 800m (2:17.93).

 

At the end of January 2007, Melnychenko won the Italian Indoor Championships once more (collecting a PB 4536 points) and fulfilled the standard of International Class Sports Master (Ukrainian classification). She accepted an invitation for the European Indoor Championships, in Birmingham, where she set her best indoor result in the High Jump (1.82m) but finished 10th with 4397 points.

 

“We decided that there was no reason to force my shape for the European Indoors because we had the goal to join the Ukrainian team for the World University Games and maybe to get the win there,” Melnychenko explains.  She checked her shape at the European Cup for Combined Events (First League), in Szczecin, Poland, finishing 3rd and scoring her best total in Heptathlon (6143 points) but she had wind assistance in two events – 200m (25.15) and Long Jump (6.43).

 

After this success, Melnychenko was added to the national team for the World Championships, in Osaka. But first she went to Bangkok, to compete at World University Games. There she was unable to summon her strength because of very hot weather and high humidity. In the Long Jump, Melnychenko made an incorrect take off and suffered an injury. She continued with two slight tears of ligaments on her take off foot so, instead of winning, she took 3rd place with a modest 5852 points.

 

Melnychenko hoped to recover in time for the World Championships, although her foot was in plaster. However, although she tried, she could not finish the first event, the 100m Hurdles.  

 

In 2008, Melnychenko began the summer season with two personal records in quick succession. First, she finished second in Desenzano, scoring 6195 points, and, one month later, at the beginning of June, she took second place at the National Championships, in Yalta, with 6203 points.  She went to the European Cup for Combined Events, in Hengelo, the Netherlands, as one of the favourites and confirmed her great shape by winning this competition for the first time with a PB 6306 points. Later, in the autumn, Melnychenko received the title of Honoured Sports Master (the highest official sports title in Ukraine) thanks to her win in Hengelo.

 

Yet Melnychenko’s win and high score at the European Cup didn’t guarantee her a place in her national Olympic team. In the middle of July she had to confirm her result at a local competition in Kiev. She had a clear win over Lyudmyla Yosypenko and booked her ticket to Beijing, scoring her fourth PB (6349) during that summer season, but it could not be official because of a hand timed 800m.

 

“I understand our national team’s management,” Melnychenko says. “They wanted to send the strongest team to the Olympic Games. But the competition in Kiev was unnecessary. Had I had more time, I would have been able to score higher in Beijing.” She finished 14th, scoring 6165 points. After three weeks of rest (doing only warm-ups) Melnychenko finished the season with 7th place in Talence, scoring 3 points more than in Beijing and beating her Olympic results in three events (High Jump, Javelin and 800m).

 

In the 2009 summer season, Melnychenko began with 2nd place in Desenzano with 6077 points. On 31 May she finished second in Götzis, setting a Personal Best 6445 points and was beaten only by her compatriot, Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska. One month later, in Szczecin, Melnychenko took her second victory at the European Cup for Combined Events, with 6380 points, to take her place in the national team for the World Championships in Berlin.

 

Hanna had considerably improved her speed and technical skills in Hurdles and Long Jump and was ready to fight for medals at the World Championships, but made some gross errors on the first day of the Heptathlon in Berlin. “I was so nervous and wanted to do everything impeccably,” Melnychenko analyses. “I was my main mistake. I had such great shape and everything I needed to compete for my own pleasure. I drew the correct conclusion after 100m Hurdles and just enjoyed my further performance in Berlin, setting two PBs in Long Jump (6.43) and 800m (2:12.85). But it wasn’t enough to set new PB in Heptathlon and get a medal. In Berlin I finished sixth with 6414 points. But I think that Championships was my best international event.”

 

Melnychenko had wanted to miss all of 2010 to get a full rest, but her shape stayed on such a high level that she decided to try to realise it in competitions. She got her third title of European Cup winner and was selected for the European Championships. But in Barcelona, Hanna fouled in Long Jump and didn’t see the reason to finish that Heptathlon.

 

Her physical tiredness turned to back injury. She tried to compete during the indoor season 2011, but pain was too tangible to show high results. All spring and summer season 2011 she dedicated to rehabilitation.

 

“My life changed cardinally at September 2011.” Hanna says. “I moved to Zaporizhzhya to live together with my boyfriend, Oleksiy Kasyanov and certainly I wanted to be near him always. I had to change training group. After a serious conversation with coach Dmytro Lyopa, I entered his group. So from October 2011 I’m training together with my darling. My training changed as well.”

 

At the National Indoor Cup 2012 in Zaporizhzhya Melnychenko just wanted to make something like a test competition to check results of new work with a new coach and was very surprised by her result in Pentathlon (4513), which was just below her PB. 

 

“After such great performance we decided to try to compete for all one is worth at the National Indoor Championships.” Hanna says. “In Sumy I improved my PB in Pentathlon to 4748 points and set four Indoor PBs in High Jump (1.84), Shot Put (13.89), Long Jump (6.41) and 800m (2:14.35). To be honest we didn’t expect that our work will have such quick and so high results. Nevertheless, I was so happy to have the ability to compete at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul. I had 1.5 years’ break from international competitions and it was very important for me to recollect this special atmosphere and all physical and psychological feelings at the beginning of the Olympic year.”

 

At the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Hanna finished  seventh, scored 4623 points and was very satisfied with her performance in Turkey.  “First of all I didn’t expect to show so high a result at the end of winter season without any special preparation.” Melnychenko summarised. “Second, we had fantastic competitions with new World Indoor record by Nataliya Dobrynska. I enjoyed the interesting struggle between Nataliya and Jessica Ennis as well as my own fight with Russian Ekaterina Bolshova and Belarusian Yana Maksimava. I was full of aspiration for going to Portugal’s training camp and starting preparation for the Olympic summer.”

 

During spring 2012, Melnychenko paid a lot of attention to improving her speed and her technical skills in different throws. The first results of changes in her preparation were impressive. At the National Combined Events Championships in Yalta (27-28 May) she set PBs in Long Jump (6.56m) and Shot Put (14.05m). Hanna won and scored 6407 points, which was only 38 points less than her Personal Best.

 

Two weeks later she decided to perform at the National Championships in Long Jump only and improved her PB to 6.74 in qualification. Hanna showed very far jumps in the final as well, but had failures in first and second round and in the third attempt, although she missed the board by more than 50cm, landed at 6.25m.

 

“I felt that my shape is great.” Melnychenko said. “I wanted to go to the European Championships in Helsinki with the gold medal goal. But at that time I had a little pain in my Achilles and we decided to take a break for treatment. In the same time we hadn’t ability to go to the training camp we needed that time and were forced to train at the football field.”

 

Although Melnychenko was in high spirits before the Olympic Games, quoting her good performances in training and expecting an interesting fight in London and a good incentive to show her best performance, things did not go as she had planned.

 

“In spite of that fact I had great shape before London Olympics, there was one big “BUT”. My heel and all area around it became inflamed. Certainly I competed in London with pain and a swollen foot.”

 

Even though feeling strong pain, Melnychenko was able to set at the London Olympics one Personal Best at 200m (24.09) and several Season Bests at 100m Hurdles (13.32), Javelin (43.86) and 800m  (2:12.90). Finally she scored 6392 points and finished ninth at her second Olympic Games.

 

“It looked like I had no luck to fight for medals at major events,” Hanna says. “At least I took it easy and continued my preparation for the next year. I even wanted to miss European Indoors in Göteborg, but after successful performance at Ukrainian National Cup in Zaporizhzhya, where I won with a total of 4623 points, we changed our opinion.”

 

In Göteborg  Melnychenko a had strong start and finished very close to her indoor Personal Bests in 60m Hurdles (8.27), High Jump (1.81) and Shot Put (13.82). But her favourite event, Long Jump, became the most unexpected stumbling block for her. In her best jump Hanna landed at 6.17m only and even said ‘Good-bye to a possible medal at the European Indoor Championships.

 

“I knew that 800m isn’t my strongest discipline,” Melnychenko recalls. “On the one hand I had great shape and could try to set my PB in that event, which meant to take a chance to fight even for the gold medal. But on the other hand I feared that I would not be able to finish if I took a high speed from the start. Only my boyfriend calmed me down before the decisive race.”

 

After she finished with 2:17.01 at 800m in Göteborg and scored 4608 points, Melnychenko couldn’t believe that she took a bronze medal from those Championships. “I never understood athletes who say that they took so long-awaited medal. And only after getting my Göteborg bronze I pronounced the words consciously.”

 

Though she was so happy and felt she had wings, Melnychenko decided to prepare for summer season only in Long Jump. “But this event turned out to be much craftier than I expected. I could not cope with my run-up speed before take-off and my Long Jump technique was broken.”

 

That is why Melnychenko decided to start her summer season 2013 from the annual Götzis Heptathlon, but was disappointed once more by a very low Javelin result. “It was my biggest problem. Usually I scored a strong sum during first day of Heptathlon and traditionally lost my high position after Javelin, which makes me unable me to fight for medals at major summer competitions. I had even decided to miss all the summer season, but changed my mind looking at my boyfriend’s training. At that time Oleksiy Kasyanov had stress fracture of his foot, but he didn’t even think to give up and continued to train every day though he had to make all exercises on one leg. I looked at him and felt too shy. I was healthy, had no pain but was capricious like a baby. His desire, persistence and patience inspired me to begin serious preparation for the World Championships in Moscow.”

 

She won Heptathlon special meeting in Kladno with 6416 points and finished second at the European Combined Events Cup in Tallinn with a total of 6260. Hanna cut Javelin throwing from her practices completely and just checked her approach in this event a very few day before the Moscow Worlds. Two leaders of women’s Heptathlon, British Olympic champion Jessica Ennis and Russian World champion Tatyana Chernova, didn’t perform in Moscow because of injuries. “In such case I was sure I can get a medal in Moscow but I didn’t even think about gold. Being a Heptathlon leader after 5 events I got cold feet before Javelin. And only after the first attempt (40.72m) I breathed with relief” Hanna said.

 

Finally Hanna scored at the Moscow World Championships a Personal Best 6586 (13.29 – 100mH, 1.86 PB= – HJ, 13.85 – SP, 23.87 – 200m, 6.49 – LJ, 41.87 – JT, 2:09.85 PB – 800m) and took the brightest and most important victory in her career. “It isn’t my gold only,” Melnychenko said in the mixed zone. “We got it together with my coach Dmytro Lyopa and my boyfriend Oleksiy Kasyanov, who was my personal psychologist here and a shining example on the way to this Worlds.”

 

In Moscow Hanna completed her fourth Heptathlon in 2013 and she decided to finish the season, feeling tired and exhausted. “After coming back home I threw my Moscow bag into the corner of the room without any desire to sort things out. After two weeks of rest, I found my athletics equipment, spikes and felt overwhelming desire to compete more and more! It was so interesting to me to see how I’ll feel performing with the World champion title. That is why I changed my mind and went to Talence.”

 

On 15 September, 2013 Melnychenko won in France with 6308 points and took the overall victory in the IAAF Combined Events Challenge to cap the most successful year in Hanna’s athletics career.

 

In winter 2014 Melnychenko, has received a personal invitation from the IAAF to perform at World Indoor Championships in Sopot based on her 2013 summer results. Hanna took it with pleasure and focused on individual events at competitions during the indoor season. “I would have liked to perform at some combined events meeting completed by three disciplines to check my shape, but unfortunately there were no meetings which had such programme for women.” Nevertheless Melnychenko set Personal Bests at 60m Hurdles (8.20) and Shot Put (14.19m) at the National Indoor Cup in Zaporizhzhya on 27 January.

 

“I don’t want to make any prediction for World Indoors in Sopot as I have some technical problems with my favourite Long Jump. We’ll have very strong field, but I know I’ll do all possible and impossible things to fight for the podium. After the Moscow win I became more confident and stronger mentally” Melnychenko said.

 

Finally, as a note on her education, in 2002 Melnychenko finished primary-school teachers' training college in Kremenchug and, in 2007, she finished Polytechnic University in Kremenchug with the specialty of land engineering.

 

Hanna’s boyfriend is Ukrainian National record’s holder in Heptathlon Oleksiy Kasyanov. Melnychenko has a 9-years old Scottish lop-eared cat named Chicha. Hanna’s hobby is design of home interior.

  

Personal Bests

Heptathlon: 6586            

Pentathlon (i): 4748       

  

Yearly Progression

Heptathlon/Pentathlon:  2001: 4907/-; 2002: 5083/3708; 2003: 5523/-; 2004: 5720/4023; 2005: 5809/4022; 2006: 6010 (6055w)/4283; 2007: 6143/4536; 2008: 6306/4218; 2009: 6445/-; 2010: 6098/-; 2011:-/4170; 2012: 6407/4748; 2013: 6586/4623; 2014: -/-.

 

Career Highlights

2004

10th

European Cup (First League)

2005

9th

European Cup

2005

13th

European U23 Championships

2006

7th

European Cup

2006

16th

European Championships

2007

10th

European Indoor Championships

2007

3rd

European Cup (First League)

2007

3rd

World University Games

2007

dnf

World Championships

2008

1st

European Cup

2008

14th

Olympic Games

2009

1st

European Cup

2009

6th

World Championships

2010

1st

European Cup

2010

dnf

European Championships

2010

1st

Police European Championships

2012

7th

World Indoor Championships

2012

9th

Olympic Games

2013

3rd

European Indoor Championships

2013

2nd

European Cup

2013

1st

World Championships

 

Prepared by Liudmyla Iakusheva for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2009-2014.