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Qatar tribune

Vinay Nayudu


Qatar’s sterling high jump athlete Mutaz Essa Barshim is aiming for another golden finish at the forthcoming Paris 2024 Games and with it a memorable finish to his glittering Olympics career.

The 33-year-old Barshim, who would also be carrying Qatar’s flag at the Paris 2024 opening ceremony along with co-athlete Shahad Mohamed, in an interview anticipated that the forthcoming Games may mark his final Olympic participation. “I think this would be my last Olympics. You never know. I have been around the last few years, but I think this would be my last Games,” the Qatari said.

The current Olympic and former world champion, Barshim has already won an Olympic gold (Tokyo 2020) and two Olympic silver medals (London 2012 and Rio 2016), three world championships gold, three Asian Games gold medals, five Asian Indoor Championships medals, one Military and one Arab Games gold, besides World and Asian Junior gold, and three Arab Championships golds.

He holds the Asian record in high jump.

Speaking ahead of the Paris Games, Barshim stressed that he seeks to set a legacy while aiming to retain his gold medal from Tokyo, aiming to set a high standard for future high jumpers to emulate or surpass.

Asked about what he wants his legacy to be, Barshim said, “I want to create a legacy. When I retire, I want to look back and say: ‘I’ve done the most ‘that was possible... to be done.’

“Adding one more medal, like in Paris, definitely will stretch out the lead and make it more difficult for the next high jumper... to surpass me. I want them to look at me and, hopefully to be one of the greats. I want my name to be mentioned whenever high jump is mentioned,” he stressed.

Barshim achieved a historic feat by winning the high jump World Championship title for the third consecutive time. His prowess was further highlighted when he claimed the coveted Olympic Champion title in Tokyo in 2021.

Barshim and Italian Gianmarco Tamberi were both in the lead during the final after failing to clear 2.39 meters. Barshim made Olympic history by proposing to officials that they share the Olympic title, a proposal which Tamberi happily agreed to.

Barshim has pledged that he will not make the same gesture again if given the chance in Paris, stating, “That won’t be repeated. We will battle until the very end.”

Barshim also felt that such a scenario is very difficult to ever happen or repeated at the Olympics.

Barshim jumps off his left foot, using the Fosbury Flop technique, with a pronounced backwards arch over the bar, he achieves this by looking over the landing mat. He is the second highest jumper of all-time with a personal best of 2.43.

Barshim chooses not to showcase his trophies at home, as he believes they may hinder his focus.

Nevertheless, his admirers have the opportunity to admire his medals and learn about his remarkable life journey in a section dedicated to his athletic accomplishments at the 321 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum in Doha.

Barshim, who was born in Doha and trained at the Aspire Academy, comes from a sporting family where his father was also a track and field athlete. One of Barshim’s brothers, Muamer, is also a high jumper while a younger brother Meshaal Barsham is Qatar national football team goalkeeper.

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