Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim was a superb winner of the men’s high jump final here at the IAAF World Junior Athletics Championships yesterday. The youngster cleared 2.30 metres on his first attempt to take the gold medal at the prestigious seven-day Championships.
“I’m just happy to have won the World Juniors,” the 19-year-old Barshim said after his gold medal effort.
“I think when I missed at 2.26m it was the best for me, because then I started to think about what I was doing, and not just running. I got into the mood and made 2.30m on my first jump. I’m not very proud of my second and third attempts at 2.32m. The first one, though, was very close. I was not tired out there,” he added.
Barshim, who graduated from Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence, was congratulated by the Academy for his remarkable feat.
“This is an historic day for Aspire, Qatar and the Qatar Association of Athletics Federation (QAAF),” said Aspire Director of Sport Wayde Clews.
“Aspire is extremely proud to have contributed to the development of Mutaz Barshim and we all rejoice that he has won a gold medal for Qatar. This performance demonstrates that Aspire has the necessary knowledge, support system and infrastructure to prepare young athletes to be competitive at the highest level in international sport. The close and effective relationship enjoyed between QAAF and Aspire also ensures that athletes and their coaches have available to them the support critical to consistently achieving success,” Clews added.
Barshim, who is also the national senior record holder at 2.31m, had a clean sheet until 2.24m. He had the leading position in a competition in which all but two athletes were left in contention at 2.17m.
Barshim enjoyed his first international success this year. He set an indoor Qatari record in Gothenburg in early February with a jump of 2.25m and then went on to take the gold medal at the 2010 Asian Indoor Athletics Championships, winning with a clearance of 2.20m.
He was selected to represent Qatar at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha and his performance of 2.23m left him in 14th place in the qualifying round.
Barshim won at the Arab Athletics Championship for Juniors in Cairo in May, clearing an outdoor best of 2.23m, and then went on to secure the continental junior title at the 2010 Asian Junior Athletics Championships. His winning mark at the competition (2.31m) was a national record and a world-leading mark for junior athletes – it was also the best jump by a junior since Huang Haiqiang cleared 2.32m in 2006.
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