News18 Mar 2024

Barshim and Kerr in battle of high jump champions in Suzhou


Mutaz Barshim and Hamish Kerr (© Chiara Montesano / Diamond League AG)

Olympic champion Mutaz Barshim will go up against world indoor champion Hamish Kerr in a high jump clash in Suzhou on 27 April.

The global gold medallists will go head-to-head in the second Wanda Diamond League meeting of the season.

New Zealand’s Kerr is the world leader having cleared 2.36m to take his maiden global title at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow earlier this month and will have high hopes of backing it up against Barshim in May.

Qatar’s three-time world champion has prioritised training in the build-up to his Olympic title defence later this year, not competing since winning his third Asian Games title in October and skipping the championships where Kerr beat a high-class field. 

For Barshim, the event in Suzhou will be one of the key indicators of his form as he aims to become the first to ever win two men’s Olympic high jump titles.

No man in history has won more world outdoor titles than the three Barshim won in succession between 2017 and 2022, and he also claimed bronze in the most recent championships in Budapest. 

“I’m happy to be back in China to start my new season,” said Barshim. “Last year I finished my season in China at the Asian Games and it was a fantastic atmosphere and support. I have never been to Suzhou but I am looking forward to visiting and competing there, and looking forward to a great competition.”

Kerr, the Oceanian record-holder, is quickly amassing an impressive collection of his own. In 2022 the 27-year-old backed up world indoor bronze with Commonwealth Games gold and 2023 saw him win his first Diamond League event in Stockholm. 

He'll hope to close the gap on Barshim in that respect, the 32-year-old being three times an overall Diamond League winner, with 23 individual event wins. 

“I’m looking forward to making my first ever trip to China a successful one,” said Kerr. “After jumping 2.36m at World Indoors, I know I am in great shape leading into the meeting. I can’t wait to compete against some of the other best jumpers in the world, in front of what will be an amazing crowd.”

They will join the already announced world pole vault record-holder Mondo Duplantis in Suzhou, with Duplantis also named for the first meeting of the Diamond League season in Xiamen on 20 April.

Organisers for World Athletics

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