Mutaz Essa Barshim after winning at the 2013 IAAF Diamond League in Eugene (© Kirby Lee)
Mutaz Essa Barshim will return to the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on 30 May, an IAAF Diamond League meeting, where he set the high jumping world on fire in 2013.
The 41st Pre Classic meeting organisers announced on Monday (13) that Qatar’s world indoor champion would head a star-studded high jump competition at this year’s event.
On his last visit to Eugene, Barshim produced what was at the highest ever clearance on US soil with a jump of 2.40m.
He has since scaled even higher and is now on the brink of the formidable eight-foot barrier (2.44m).
Many called 2014 ‘The Year of the High Jump’ and Barshim’s finishing touch was winning the IAAF Diamond League final with 2.43m – higher in history than all but the world record-holder Javier Sotomayor, who jumped 2.45m back in 1993 when Barshim was just two years old.
Ivan Ukhov, co-holder of the European record, is third among the world’s highest-ever jumpers, clearing his best of 2.42m last year and the Russian has also won in Eugene in the past.
Olympic medallists Derek Drouin and Erik Kynard, from Canada and USA respectively, will have no problem renewing their rivalry.
Kynard and Drouin were second and third at the 2013 Pre Classic and were regular rivals during their student careers, Drouin studying at Indiana and Kynard at Kansas State.
USA’s 2011 world champion Jesse Williams has won many times at Hayward Field but none is more memorable than his 2011 US title at 2.37m. It stood as a stadium record until Barshim’s 2013 Pre Classic clearance.
Andriy Protsenko of Ukraine will be making his first appearance at the Pre Classic. He is the European silver medallist and is also a member of the elite club of high jumpers who have gone over 2.40m or better.
Also making his first appearance will be Russia’s 22-year-old Daniil Tsyplakov, who won the European indoor gold medal last month.
Chinese indoor record-holder Guowei Zhang was only 21 when he finished fifth in the incredibly deep 2013 Pre Classic contest. He has been a finalist in each of the past two World Championships and World Indoor Championships.
Organisers for the IAAF
2015 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 15 May
Shanghai, CHN – 17 May
Eugene, USA – 30 May
Rome, ITA – 4 June
Birmingham, GBR – 7 June
Oslo, NOR – 11 June
New York, USA – 13 June
Paris, FRA – 4 July
Lausanne, SUI – 9 July
Monaco, MON – 17 July
London, GBR – 24-25 July
Stockholm, SWE – 30 July
Zurich, SUI – 3 September
Brussels, BEL – 11 September