Barshim and Kerr go to war

Edwin  - CEO March 18, 2024
Updated 2024/03/19 at 10:31 AM
3 Min Read
Mutaz Barshim and Hamish Kerr (© Chiara Montesano / Diamond League AG)/World Athletics
Mutaz Barshim and Hamish Kerr (© Chiara Montesano / Diamond League AG)/World Athletics

In a battle of high jump champions in Suzhou


Mutaz Essa BARSHIM Image credit: World Athletics


World Athletics reports that Olympic champion Mutaz Barshim will face world indoor champion Hamish Kerr in a high jump clash in Suzhou on 27 May.


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


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. He will have high hopes of backing it up against Barshim in May.


Qatar’s three-time world champion has prioritized training in the build-up to his Olympic title defense later this year. He has not competed 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. He aims to become the first man to 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. 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 I am 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 in 2023, he won his first Diamond League event in Stockholm.


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


“I’m looking forward to making my first 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 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. Duplantis has also been named for the first meeting of the Diamond League season in Xiamen on 20 April.


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