Trust Mutaz Essa Barshim to reach for the sky as the limit.
The Qatari high jump world champion and twice Olympic medalist is working his way towards a fourth Diamond League trophy following his sedate second-placed finish at the Doha round of Wanda Diamond League on May 28th.
In Rome now for the third round of the Wanda Diamond League to take place on Thursday (June 10), Barshim exuded confidence and expressed the desire to clinch another trophy at the end of the season.
Speaking in Rome ahead of the Florence meet on Wednesday, Barshim said, “I have a good place in my house for another Diamond Trophy.”
Recalling his passion and his foray into athletics, Barshim said, “Track and field is my passion. I am from a family of athletes, my father used to do track and field, I would watch him on television, and before the Diamond League it was the Golden League. As a young boy I would go to the stadium in Doha and see athletes competing, and I really wanted to compete there so badly. Today, I am here with three Diamond League trophies and I feel I am really blessed and I feel it is a part of my dream come true. I am really looking forward to another one. I have a good place in my house for another Diamond Trophy.
“For me Diamond League is very important. I think it is the highest competition for athletes and ideal preparation for Olympics,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Wanda Diamond League may have moved from Rome to a smaller venue in Florence but the athlete line-ups are by no means diminished.
Sifan Hassan, Joshua Cheptegei, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Femke Bol, Laura Muir and Dina Asher-Smith are among the athletes in action for Thursday as World Athletics’ flagship series moves to Italy.
The women’s 1500m features a terrific clash between Sifan Hassan, Faith Kipyegon and Laura Muir. Hassan holds the world record for the mile and is world champion at 1500m and 10,000m. The Dutch athlete also broke the world 10,000m record on Sunday in Hengelo. Kipyegon, meanwhile, is the Olympic 1500m champion and Muir is the European gold medalist.
In addition, Muir’s GB team-mates Eilish McColgan and Katie Snowden are part of the 1500m line-up together with Ireland’s Ciara Mageean at this Pietro Mennea Golden Gala meeting.
The men’s 5000m is no less stacked with world record-holder Joshua Cheptegei leading the way. The Ugandan is making his first Diamond League appearance of the summer and he takes on Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway.
In-form Mohammed Katir – the Spanish runner who won at the Diamond League in Gateshead last month – plus Australian Stewart McSweyn are also in the line-up.
Dina Asher-Smith takes on a women’s 200m field that includes Dafne Schippers and Marie-Jose Ta Lou. Fellow Brit Beth Dobbin also races.
There is home interest at the Italian venue with Gianmarco Tamberi in the high jump up against three-time Diamond League champion Mutaz Essa Barshim, plus Andriy Protsenko and recent Doha Diamond League winner Ilya Ivanyuk.
In the hurdles races, Britain’s Andy Pozzi takes on Omar McLeod of Jamaica in the 110m hurdles. The women’s 400m hurdles features Dutch star Femke Bol and Britain’s Jessica Turner among others, while the women’s 100m hurdles line-up is led by Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico.
Another in-form Brit, Holly Bradshaw, is part of a women’s pole vault line-up that includes four-time Diamond Trophy winner Katerina Stefanidi and world champion Anzhelika Sidorova.
Elsewhere, Isaac Makwala, Anthony Zambrano and Matt Hudson-Smith are among the field in the men’s 400m. Akani Simbine and CJ Ujah are in the men’s 100m. The men’s shot put field is led by Tom Walsh of New Zealand.
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