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Always have to be ready physically, says Barshim
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Always have to be ready physically, says Barshim

Vinay Nayudu
Overcoming challenges is something that seems to come somewhat naturally to athletes. And when it comes to the best high-jumper in the world, Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim is dealing with the current crisis in much a similar way yet aiming for the future.
Just to sum up the unwanted coronavirus times and the challenges that lie ahead, Barshim said, “I always have to be ready physically” -- in his latest video broadcast at the Olympic Channel.
He says physically, perhaps knowing fully well how strong he has been mentally anyways.
A strong mind and a strong body is what underlines for the sublime Barshim is made of.
Just a few months ago, and on his home turf and in front of several thousand screaming fans at the Khalifa International Stadium, Barshim had scaled a world leading jump of 2.37m to retain his gold and the world champion title at the IAAF World Championships on October 4, 2019.
The height was immeasurable in many ways because Barshim was coming off an injury and actually hadn’t fully recovered. But it was his zeal, zest, and his love for his countrymen that saw him reach the summit in a thunderous fashion.
Now, as the world us faced with an unprecedented challenge of the novel coronavirus, Barshim (a twice world champion and twice Olympic medallist) is continuing with his journey in readiness for the postponed Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
“Before the coronavirus situation, I had a schedule six months in advance, which competition I will participate in, which ones I will not,” said the Qatari.
He, however, added: “But now you never know, in two months there might be a competition in place.”
Comparing the present day crisis to his school days, Barshim recalled: “At the beginning of my career I had no specific goal. It was a normal start.
“At school, I didn't like homework so my goal was to train for as long as possible to avoid doing homework.”
No more of that. Training continues unhindered, even at home. For, there is still a dream to be fulfilled. “My goal is to finish my career, and look back and say: 'I achieved all of this',” said the 28-year-old champion.
But what also makes Barshim more special is his humbling nature, his belief in staying grounded and in being realistic.
“If you come to my home, you won't see any trophies, medals or certificates. That is because I want to avoid looking at them and getting arrogant or indolent. The target is always 'What is next',” he revealed.
In well over a decade, it is also the first time that Barshim is home during Ramadan. “I start my day with prayers followed by training and using the time to do some activities at home. I clean my office, do the house, play games and now I can say I have more time to reply more emails,” he had said a few days ago.
“I am doing a lot of painting, putting paints up the wall as well as cooking,”
At the same time, he is doing a lot of weight training while staying focused for the future.
After a bronze at London 2012, and a silver in Rio (2016).... it is perhaps time for a gold at Tokyo!

Caption: World high jump champion Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar during his Ramadan training routine in Doha. (Pics: Red Bull Content Pool)  

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