03 January, 2019

Barshim's brilliance in Brussels

  • © Gladys Chai von der Laage

Back in 2014, Mutaz Essa Barshim and Bogdan Bondarenko delivered a legendary, season-long battle for the Diamond Trophy. The drama came to head at the IAAF Diamond League Final in Brussels, where Barshim hit record-breaking form.

Barshim and Bondarenko had swapped blows all season, with the Ukrainian leading the standings going into the final, having taken three victories to the Qatari's two. 

With both men in the form of their lives, it was always going to be a competition to remember as they battled it out for the Diamond Trophy in Brussels. Yet few could have expected the fireworks to come. 

For a moment, it appeared that Bondarenko would defend the title he had won a year earlier in 2013, as he coasted through to 2.40m without a single cross against his name. Barshim, meanwhile, began to flounder at 2.37m, twice failing to clear the bar before eventually pulling through. 

Having survived that scare, there was no going back for the Qatari, who sailed over at 2.40m before taking on the jump of his career. 

With the bar at 2.43m, Barshim soared clear to set a new personal best, break the Diamond League record and move to within two centimetres of Javier Sotomayor's world record. 

As Bondarenko failed to match him, Barshim also took the title, getting his hands on the Diamond Trophy for the first time. It was to be the first of several, as he defended the title in 2015, and won it for a third time in 2017.