At 32 years old, the Qatar Golden Falcon is the favourite to win the World Athletics Championships title once again.
Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim cleared the men’s high jump bar at the World Athletics Championships to reach the tournament’s qualifying round on Sunday.,
The Golden Falcon of Qatar, one of the three track and field athletes to clear the qualifying mark, is now aiming to win his fourth consecutive gold title after winning London 2017, Doha 2019, and Eugene 2022 editions.
Competing among the best superstars, Barshim’s road to victory stands in the way of his frequent rivals, Japan’s Ryoichi Akamatsu and America’s Juvaughn Harrison.
Both stars cleared without knocking the bar, while Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi narrowly made the 2.28 jump on his final attempt.
Aiming to create history in Budapest, Barshim outlined his unique preparation technique for this year’s competition.
Speaking ahead of the tournament, the 32-year-old revealed that he often doesn’t compete and instead trains throughout the year to keep his body firm.
“I have not been competing a lot this season, but I have so much on my back. Nowadays, I am a different high jumper. I have been competing for a while, and I know my body. I understand much more what to do, when to do it. It is not always about going out there and competing,” the accomplished Qatari said.
“Sometimes, training is all I need. The result of a competition is only a reflection of what you have been doing in training. Sometimes you see me competing once or twice but the outcome is great. If I am not competing, it does not mean that I have not been working,” Barshim added.
Barshim noted that his success extends to his choice of footwear and even his watch, which few athletes wear during tournaments.
“I always need the right shoes. If you have a fast car without wheels, you cannot perform. The same importance goes for a high jumper’s shoes. My high jump is very technical and for it I need to make sure that I know what I am doing while jumping and the shoes are what gives me confidence,” Barshim stated.
“I am actually jumping with my own watch developed especially for me. It is very lightweight, just 32 grams. I get a lot of questions from people asking me how I can jump with it, and is it too heavy for me?” the defending Olympic Champion said.
“I have a very special relationship with this watch and the story behind it. It is very close to my heart… This watch gives me a buzz of energy. It is not just a watch, it has a sentimental value for me. But I want to keep the story about it to myself for now.”