WATCH: Barshim bags Qatar's second gold as world champion soars high in Tokyo
Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim further confirmed his ratings today as one of the greatest high jumpers in history after scaling 2.37m in his first attempt to clinch the Olympic gold medal, alongside Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi, inside the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
The victory, coming a day after weightlifter Fares Ibrahim won Qatar's first-ever Olympic gold, is definitely a massive icing on the cake for the Qatari contingent, and indeed the entire country, at what has proven to be its most successful Olympic outing.
"Mutaz is an example of a successful sports project after achieving a bronze medal in London 2012 and silver in io 2016. Today he wins the gold in Tokyo 2020," said Jassim Rashid al Buenain, QOC Secretary-General, in a tweet congratulating the champion.
For two-time World Champion Barshim, the result finally ended a long wait for Olympic gold in a career that has seen him progressed from a bronze medalist at the 2012 London Games to silver in Rio four years later, and now finally landing the holy grail of athletics.
"I've been waiting for five years for this. It's the one I want, and I'll do what it takes to make it happen," Barshim had said ahead of the final, and true to his words – he made it happen. The wait is finally over – for him and indeed for Qatar.
The super-confident Barshim, who skipped the opening jump at 2.19m, was near flawless as he soared to the top of the table with a 2.24m clearance in his first jump. The next three jumps, 2.27m, 2.30m and 2.35m, were no problems for the 30-year-old Aspire Academy graduate either - same as the final jump of 2.37m.
His attempt at going past the 2.39m height proved unsuccessful twice, but that ended not being an issue as he was good to go for the gold in the end.
Barshim, the national record and Asian record holder with a best mark of 2.43m, booked the ticket for Tokyo after his stunning 2.37m (the same height he scaled in Tokyo) gold medal-winning leap in the high jump at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha.
Despite a not too impressive season, judging by his high standards and no thanks to the global pandemic, Barshim has once again proven that form is temporal while class is permanent with his outstanding performance in Tokyo.
Barshim, who has an outdoor personal best of 2.43m (achieved in 2014), has been one of the most consistent performers for Qatar since he came into global reckoning in 2010. He set a Qatari indoor record in Gothenburg in February of that year with a jump of 2.25 m, and then went on to take the gold medal at the 2010 Asian Indoor Athletics Championships, winning with a clearance of 2.20m.
He has superbly mastered the Fosbury Flop technique, jumping off his left foot with a pronounced backwards arch over the bar, with his tall physique giving him an added advantage.
Barshim, who is an inspiration to many young athletes in Qatar and the region, elevated his iconic status in 2019 when he produced a breathtaking performance, jumping 2.37m, despite having had an injury scare before the competition in front of a home crowd in Doha to defend his World Championship title.
His long list of career achievements includes 14 gold, three silver and two bronze medals. He is rightfully regarded as one of the greatest high jumpers in history alongside world record holder Javier Sotomayor, German legend Dietmar Mogenburg and Sweden's Stefan Holm.
While waiting for him to eventually break Sotomayor's long-standing record of 2.45m, Qatar and the entire world can bask in the revelation that a king has been crowned in Barshim, and the question remains #whatgravity? The answer is it is nothing in Barshim's diary.
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