28 July, 2017

Barshim back to battle in Birmingham

High jumper, Mutaz Barshim has happy memories of competing at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.

In 2014 the Olympic silver medalist from Qatar cleared 2.38m, along with Ukrainian Bohdan Bondarenko, for a meeting record.  Despite both going very close neither could clear 2.41m so Barshim won on count back securing the maximum Diamond League points. 

Two years later, back at the Alexander Stadium, he took victory again, this time with a world lead clearance of 2.37m.  In a tight competition the lead changed hands several times between Guowei Zhang, Erik Kynard and Barshim with the Qatari eventually taking the victory with a best clearance of 2.37m, Kynard second with 2.35m and Zhang third with 2.32m.

Barshim will be hoping for similar form when he returns for the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham next month, against home favourite and long-term rival Robbie Grabarz.  The Briton finished in joint fourth behind Barshim in Rio last year and was joint Olympic bronze medallist with Barshim and Derek Drouin of Canada at London 2012.

In this year’s Road To The Final, 26-year old Barshim leads with 32 points with Grabarz on 21 followed by Ukrainians Andriy Protsenko with 19 and  Bohdan Bondarenko on 14.  These four have qualified for the IAAF Diamond League Final with the high jump taking place in Zurich on 24 August.  Eight further places are up for grabs with Birmingham the last of the IAAF Diamond League qualifying meetings. 

Barshim, who won the coveted IAAF Diamond League in 2015, said: “I love competing in the UK so to have another chance to compete there at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham is fantastic.

“I hope I will be celebrating winning another World Championship medal by the time I get to Birmingham and I will be trying my best to jump well.”

Barshim and Birmingham-based Grabarz will continue their rivalry at the IAAF World Championships in London prior to the Diamond League meet on 20 August.