13 Sep 2017 - 1:54
Star Barshim eyes 2018 Indoor Worlds
By Rizwan Rehmat / The Peninsula
World champion Mutaz Barshim yesterday arrived home to a rapturous welcome but the track and field star wasted little time in announcing he has his eyes on next year’s World Athletics Indoor Championships in Birmingham.
Barshim last month grabbed the world high jump title in London with a winning leap of 2.35 meters. At the same venue five years ago, the affable Qatari had won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games.
In August 2016, Qatar’s most celebrated athlete had won the silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games.
Barshim’s historic feat in London was followed by a series of top performances, including a world leading 2.40-metre jump at the Birmingham Muller Grand Prix just a week later. He also went on to finish as the top star of the 2017 Diamond League season with five wins.
Later in Eberstadt, Germany, he once again cleared the 2.40m mark for the 11th occasion in his career.
“It was an amazing feeling. I was so determined to win and I am happy with my performance,” Barshim said yesterday after being welcomed home by the Qatar Athletics Federation (QAF) officials and Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) representatives.
Barshim, 26, said it was time to rest but the tall athlete added the coming weeks will be spent analysing his targets for the 2018 track and field season
“I need to stay focused because there are so many challenges coming up. Next season we have the World Indoors so I am looking forward to it,” Barshim said.
Barshim, who beat Russian Danil Lysenko (silver) and Majd Eddin Ghazal of Syria (bronze) to the gold medal in London, said competing under pressure brought out the best in him.
“You know there is pressure but it is a pressure to do better,” Barshim explained.
“It is a different kind of pressure. I am not talking about pressure where I can’t perform. That’s the pressure that brings you down. I am talking about the pressure that you can deal with in a positive way.
“This is the pressure that you can take you forward. I think I did something like that. The thing is I pressure myself. I don’t allow other athletes to put pressure on me,” he added.
Barshim said he would get the chance to better Cuban Javier Sotomayor’s world best mark of 2.45.
“It was the championship season. The best thing I contested was the medal. The (world) title was important,” Barshim said about his London feat.
“When you have the title you can focus on other things in the coming seasons. Next summer (after the Indoor Worlds) we have no major championships so we can focus on other things (like improving the world mark),” he said.
Barshim said he intends to stay low for the next month or so before launching bid for the 2018 season.
“I have no plans for now. I just want to spend time at home. I have nothing until January (2018),” Barshim said.
“I have one month off and then I start preparations for the next season. I think I will spend 10-15 days here and then I may travel. I will try to recover from what has been a long season. I need to recover so that I don’t have any injuries and stuff for next season,” the Qatari star added.