Barshim Dominates in Paris
Sunday, July 2, 2017
Gulf Times -- Qatari Mutaz Essa Barshim won the high jump at the Meeting du Paris, clearing 2.35m yesterday. This dominant victory was Barshim’s fourth Diamond League triumph this season.
Having posted the four best performances in the world this year in the high jump, Barshim continues on his winning streak in Paris. The Qatari won the competition, clearing 2.35m on his first attempt. His two rivals, Ukrainian Bohdan Bondarenko and Syrian Majed Aldin Ghazal, did not manage to clear the same height, remaining stuck at 2.32m, their season’s best. Barshim then attempted 2.39m, which would have been a season’s best, but opted to end his competition after two failed attempts.
“All’s going according to plan and my coach is satisfied with my recent situation,” Barshim told reporters after his win yesterday.
“I wanted to jump even higher but I don’t know what happened — I started to feel some pain so I just did not want to take a risk. There’ll be no limits for me in London.”
Barshim remains the only high jumper to have qualified for the Diamond League final, which will be held in Zurich next month.
The Qatari was the favorite going into the Paris event and he produced a performance worthy of that tag. He sat out the first height of 2.20 meters. He then proceeded to clear the next two marks – 2.24m and 2.28m — in the first attempts. By this stage, the field had reduced to five athletes from the 13 that were taking part.
At the next height – 2.32 – Barshim had a bit of a stutter and did not clear it on his first attempt. Bondarenko, who did so, went into the lead. The Qatari cleared it at his second attempt and so did the Syrian Ghazal.
When the bar was raised, however, to 2.35m, neither Bondarenko nor Ghazal, were able to clear it in their three attempts. Barshim sailed over it, in his very first attempt to secure the gold medal. He then proceeded to attempt his season’s best but failed to do so. Regardless, this victory will give him more confidence going into the Diamond League events coming up. Barshim will now head to at Rabat later this month and then Birmingham on August 14. Sandwiched between these two events is the World Championships in London, which is the focus for all athletes, including Barshim.
“Obviously, the main goal this season is the World championships in London, but it’s not the only goal. This season I want to have a different and specific approach for every single competition. Each time I want to be successful, I want to be excellent,” Barshim had said in Paris.
“So far, I feel really comfortable with my running and that’s very important. I can jump at full approach with eight steps. I haven’t really changed a lot of things in my training this year, just some small touch,” he added.
Two Diamond League events, the World Championships and then the Diamond League final in Zurich. That gives Barshim four more events this season where he can aim to break the long-standing, so far elusive, world record of Javier Sotomayor. The Cuban had jumped 2.45m in 1993. Barshim had come excruciatingly close with his 2.43m in 2014, but Qatar has always spoken about his desire to break that record.
This win in Paris gives Barshim a clean sweep of all the Diamond League high jump events that have been held this year. The Qatari opened the season with a win in Doha where he jumped 2.36m. Barshim then headed to Shanghai and here a 2.33-meter jump was enough to hand him the gold. The next two Diamond League events —Eugene and Rome — did not have the long jump discipline.
After this, the 28-year-old produced what has been his best show this year in Oslo. Barshim cleared an impressive 2.38 meters to win gold and also register a meet record. In that event too, he had defeated Ukrainian Bondarenko, like in Paris.
Barshim is gaining in confidence as the World Championships draws close and one can except something amazing from this Qatari star athlete.