Mutaz Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi (© Getty Images / AFP)
Joint Olympic high jump champions Mutaz Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi – who provided one of the enduring images of the Tokyo Games – will reunite in competition at the Doha Diamond League on Friday 13 May, the opening meeting of the 2022 Wanda Diamond League series.
The pair, long-standing friends and rivals, have supported one another through the best and worst of times, not least when enduring career-threatening injuries in the years prior to their famous Olympic victory.
Double world champion Barshim was outstanding when winning global gold in Doha in 2019 to become the first man to successfully defend a world high jump title. Remarkably, it followed a devastating ankle injury in 2018. Twice an Olympic silver medallist (2012 and 2016), he is the Qatari record-holder with a best of 2.43m, making him the second-highest jumper of all time.
“We made history with our Olympic gold, but my focus is now entirely on defending my world title in Eugene later this summer,” said the 30-year-old. “The men’s high jump is currently at a very high standard. We must all continue to work hard if we’re to push the boundaries of our sport. My training has been going well and I’m looking forward to competing again.”
Tamberi, the 2016 world indoor and European champion, is the Italian record-holder with a best of 2.39m. He was enjoying his best year ever when he suffered a horrific injury ahead of the Rio Games in 2016. His journey back to fitness was gradual and challenging, but he returned to medal-winning form with a European indoor title in Glasgow in 2019. More recently, he finished third at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade last month.
“I celebrated the best moment of my life so far with Mutaz in Tokyo, but it’s important to move on from that and focus on the new goals I’ve set myself for the World and European Championships this summer,” said the 2021 Wanda Diamond League champion. “I made a late decision to compete at the World Indoors, so I was pleased to make the podium. I’ve been training in Qatar since the end of March, and I’ve enjoyed learning more about this great country. Every time I come here it feels like home because of my friendship with Mutaz and the warm welcome I’ve received, so it means a lot to me to open my Diamond League campaign and summer season in Doha.”
The 2022 Wanda Diamond League comprises 14 meetings in total, starting with Doha at the Qatar Sports Club on 13 May and concluding with a single final across two days in Zurich (7-8 September). Each meeting will be broadcast globally in a live two-hour programme.
De Grasse, Bromell and Blake bound for Birmingham
The men’s 100m at the Müller Birmingham Diamond League will showcase some of the fastest athletes in the world with Andre de Grasse, Trayvon Bromell, and Yohan Blake among the star names set to star at the second meeting of the 2022 Wanda Diamond League series on Saturday 21 May.
De Grasse, the Olympic 200m champion, took bronze in the 100m in Tokyo in a lifetime best of 9.89, a time he equalled as he finished second in last year’s Diamond League final in Zurich. The 27-year-old Canadian will be looking to kick-start the big season ahead with the World Championships in Oregon in July followed by a potential return to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games.
“It will be great to race against such a world-class field in the UK at the Müller Birmingham Diamond League next month,” said De Grasse. “2021 was a really strong year for me, winning three medals at the Olympic Games, so I am looking forward to starting my season strongly against the world’s best at the Alexander Stadium.”
Bromell, the 2015 world bronze medallist, will be keen to make up for missing out on the Olympic 100m final last year. The US sprinter, who won over 100m at the Diamond League meeting in Gateshead last July, was the fastest man over 100m in 2021, finishing the season strongly with a 9.76 PB in Nairobi in September.
“The last time I competed in the UK I took the victory over 100m, so I will be looking to produce another strong performance for the British crowd at the end of May,” said the 2016 world indoor 60m champion. “With the World Athletics Championships taking place in Oregon in the summer, racing against such a competitive field is really important so I’m looking forward to lining up against them.”
Multiple global medallist Yohan Blake from Jamaica won the world title back in 2011. He remains the second fastest man ever over 100m with his lifetime best of 9.69 from 2012.
“Birmingham holds some great memories for me, including my victory there at the Diamond League a few years ago,” said Blake. “The UK crowds are always incredible, so I’m really pleased to be racing in front of them once again, and also get a chance to compete on the new track against a really strong field.”