For Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim, the bronze he won on a rainy night at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday feels like gold.
Barshim said that he will do his best to accomplish a new achievement for Qatar at the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The 21-year-old defied the odds by battling a crippling back injury but still held his nerve to bag a bronze against a field that included Russia’s 2008 Olympic champion Andrey Silnov and American world champion Jesse Williams.
Soon after clinching the bronze, Barshim dedicated the medal to the Emir, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and the Heir Apparent, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
“This bronze is better than a gold medal,” Barshim said with the Qatar flag draped around his slim shoulders. “I was not sure (of competing) when I came here (to London) because I was injured, and in qualifying I did not do very well. But I tried to stay calm,” he recalled.
“My injury was in my spinal cord, it was a stress fracture and it was serious. I’m not really fit now. I’m OK – 85 percent,” Barshim said after picking up Qatar’s medal number two at the London Olympic Games. “This is the fourth medal for my country and I am very proud and I feel very excited,” he said.
Qatar on Wednesday celebrated its best ever Olympic Games haul as Barshim finished with a bronze medal after a tense battle at the Olympic Stadium. It was Qatar’s fourth bronze in Olympic Games history.
Qatar’s Mohamed Suleiman won a medal in the men’s athletics 1500m in 1992 (Barcelona) and weightlifter Saif Assad picked up a medal at the Sydney Games in 2000.
“I am so happy that I have won an Olympics medal,” Barshim said. “I have worked so hard for this. It was really tough competition,” Barshim, who jumped 2.37m in February this year at the Asian indoor championships in Hangzhou, said. The Qatari produced a slick performance in the first three rounds of the high jump final, clearing 2.20, 2.25 and 2.29 with ease. However, Barshim couldn’t clear the bar raised to 2.33 and had to settle for a bronze.
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