Spikes03 Feb 2015

"We lost respect for the height"


Mutaz Essa Barshim

When high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim cleared 2.43m in Brussels last year he became the second best performer in the event’s history. In the first of a new series of IAAF Inside Athletics interviews, the Qatari, who kicks off his 2015 season in Banska Bystrica in Slovakia tomorrow, tells Ato Boldon what heights he thinks high jump can reach this season.

The high jump was the stand-out spectacle of last season, with one of the strongest fields in the event’s history knocking on the door of Javier Sotomayor’s 2.45m world record.

Though none broke the two-decade-old mark last year, Mutaz Essa Barshim believes having five competitors jumping 2.40m and higher in 2014 means the jumpers have “lost respect for the height”. He insists that although it is still a massive task, the high quality field has created the right conditions for someone to step up and make history.

“I think what’s happening in high jump now is the right way to break a world record,” he says. “There are a lot of good athletes and everybody is young, so it’s really hard to predict who’s gonna do it because everyone CAN do it.”

The 23-year-old, who admits his experience has helped him improve as an athlete, also talks about the impact his growing global fame is having back in his homeland of Qatar. “It’s good because you can inspire a lot of people, it changes the mentality that they have,” he adds.

Barshim also talks about pushing his body to the limits, staying injury free, and growing up with a distance runner for a dad. Watch the full interview below.