When Mutaz Essa Barshim took the Prefontaine Classic by storm in 2013 few could have imagined quite how successful he would become.
Two year’s on from that special day at Hayward Field when the Qatari superstar cleared 2.40m for the very first time, the world indoor champion is now the second best high jumper in history, not to mention one of the faces of track and field.
As he returns to the city this weekend, once more looking to improve his personal best and potentially the world record, Barshim told RunBlogRun how big his win and clearance was at Eugene in 2013: “It was really important, it opened up the gate mentally for the next level, it gave me so much belief. I jumped 2.40m here when I was only half fit and that was kind of like ‘wow we can go to my full fitness then I can fly that was really good win and it gives me confidence.” he said.
Such a magic breakthrough he adds makes the venue one of favourites: “I love this place, I think that’s the magic height for a high jumper, whenever he jumps 2.40m he’s feeling so good, so I felt kind of good here, everybody’s so supportive.” he said
So with that in mind Barshim, says that he is hoping to reward their support with a top performance and after his best ever season opener in Shanghai,: “I just want to go out there and have a good show and have a good competition and jump high.”
“I felt good in the first meet so I’m looking forward to the next meet to come out here and to jump well.” he adds.
Having won easily in Shanghai, after clearing 2.38m some wondered why Barshim didn’t attempt another 2.40+ clearance given how well he was jumping, leading to questions of a potential injury however Barshim insists he was just taking precautions: “It was my first meet always I want to just go out there and just kind of adjust myself and the goal there was to win so I won that’s it. 2.38m is my best opening ever, I’m happy with that, I don’t want any injuries, so maybe I could jump higher, but maybe my bodies not ready yet. I’d been travelling quite a lot so I wanted to take it easy a little bit.” He said.