14 april, 2018

Diamond League Legends: Mutaz Essa Barshim

With Mutaz Essa Barshim set to kick-off his Diamond Trophy defence on home soil once again, we take a look back at the Qatari high jumper's stunning record in the IAAF Diamond League.

After picking up Olympic bronze as a 21-year-old at the London Olympic Games in 2012, it was clear that Barshim was an athlete with a fine career ahead of him. In recent years, he has shown his quality against tough opposition across the major championships. 

More than anywhere else, it is in the Diamond League that Barshim has thrived, picking up three Diamond Trophies in the last four seasons as he asserted himself as perhaps the most consistently brilliant high jumper of his generation. 

Inches from the world record

His success in the Diamond League began in 2014, as he engaged in an incredible, season-long battle with Ukrainian rival Bogdan Bondarenko. In New York, both men cleared 2.42m, just three centimetres off the world record. It was Barshim who triumphed in the Diamond Race, however, jumping an incredible 2.43m in Brussels to win the Final and get his hands on the Diamond Trophy for the first time.

Struggles in 2016

He successfully defended his title in 2015, after surviving a mid-season scare.. After winning in Shanghai and Eugene, Barshim didn't pick up another win until the Final in Zurich, claiming a second Diamond Trophy to make up for a disappointing IAAF World Championships in Beijing. 

His struggles continued in 2016, where he won silver at the Rio Olympic Games, but lost his Diamond League title for the first time to Erik Kynard. 

Back in business

2017, though, saw Barshim return to his brilliant best, as he rampaged through the Diamond League circuit, picking up five wins and remaining unbeaten as he regained the Diamond Trophy. 

The season started brilliantly, as he broke a curious curse, taking a first ever victory at the Doha Diamond League with a world lead of 2.36m. 

After setting a new meeting record at the Bislett Games in Oslo, Barshim's finest moment arguably came in Birmingham, where he jumped 2.40m, and took the bar home in triumph. 

A few weeks later, he wrapped up a third Diamond Trophy in Zurich, and he is now looking to make it four this season, as he kicks off his campaign on home soil next month. 

"I always love competing in the Doha Diamond League in front of my fans, my family and my country. Last year was an amazing season but I know that I have more to give and I cannot wait for this year’s outdoor season to begin," he said.