Barshim set for London return

Barshim set for London return

The Peninsula

Qatar’s reigning Olympic and world high jump champion Mutaz Barshim will return to the London Stadium, the venue where he clinched his maiden global title six years ago.

The 31-year-old, regarded as one of the greatest high jumpers of all time, will join a star cast of athletes who will descend on the 60,000-seat venue at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the London Diamond League on July 23.

Barshim last competed at the iconic venue in 2019 at a Diamond League meet.

Earlier this month, Barshim cleared a seasonal best of 2.24m at the traditional curtain raiser of the Diamond League season at the Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium. The lanky athlete will be looking to rev-up his form before the London Meeting, the 10th stop of the high profile League. Before the London meet, Barshim will also take part in Stockholm meeting on July 2.

USA’s JuVaughan Harrison was the surprise winner of the event in Doha with a 2.32-metre-mark, while South Korea’s Sanghyeok Woo claimed the second spot ahead of the Qatari hero.

Barshim is happy to have kicked off the season in front of his home crowd, and is looking forward to compete at the heart of London.

“To open my Wanda Diamond League season in Doha was special as there is no support quite like the support you get at home, but returning to London, where I won my first World Championships title, is always close to my heart,” Barshim, who kicked off his ascent to global greatness at the 2012 Olympics in London with a silver medal, told the Diamond League website.

Following his maiden Olympic medal, Barshim’s remarkable achievements continued, and he became the World Indoor Champion in 2014, followed by a gold medal at the Asian Games the same year. That was before he returned to England once again to claim the first of what will be a hat-trick of World titles - at the 2017 London, 2019 Doha and 2022 Eugene World Championships.

Barshim, who has recorded the second-highest jump of all time, 2.43m, behind Cuban Javier Sotomayor’s world record of 2.45m, won his first Olympic gold at the Tokyo Games in 2021, when he shared the title with his long-time friend and Italian rival Gianmarco Tamberi.

The United Kingdom has been a happy hunting ground for Barshim, having showcased remarkable performances in various competitions.

Some of his notable moments include his silver medal at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham in 2018 and his exceptional jump of 2.40m, which ranks among his top ten jumps of all time, securing victory in the 2017 Birmingham Diamond League.

“I know I’ve achieved a lot, but I’m still chasing and aiming for more. I have set my own goals and targets for 2023 and the World Championships and the Asian Games are at the top of that list. Competing in London is the perfect preparation for Budapest where I’m aiming to win my fourth global title,” Barshim who is aiming for an unprecedented fourth World Championships gold medal in a row at the Hungarian capital in August this year, said.