Mutaz Barshim wins first silver Olympic medal in Qatar’s history
Qatari high-jump hero Mutaz Barshim has won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics early this morning, Doha time – Qatar’s first ever.
After competing neck-and-neck with Canadian Derek Drouin during several jumps, the 25-year-old Qatari lost the gold after failing to clear 2.38m three times.
Though disappointed, Barshim seemed cheered to know he’d still be guaranteed a medal after jumping 2.36m.
Barshim previously took bronze in the London Olympics four years ago by jumping 2.29m, and gold at the 2014 World Indoor Championships.
This year, Drouin took home the gold, and Bohdan Bondarenko of Ukraine got the bronze for jumping 2.33m.
This is Qatar’s first silver medal Olympic victory.
The country has only won four bronze medals since it began participating in the Olympics.
The win will likely feel particularly sweet for the country as Barshim is a “homegrown” Qatari.
This year, some critics have accused Qatar of attempting to “buy” medals because 23 of its 38 Olympic athletes were recruited from other countries.
While legal, some argue this goes against the spirit of the games.
Barshim’s win is also the first Qatar has claimed since the Rio Olympics began. Elsewhere, the nation’s handball team will compete in the quarter-finals tonight against Germany.