Asian high jump record-holder Mutaz Essa Barshim will launch his 2015 IAAF Diamond League campaign in Shanghai on 17 May.
In 2014, Barshim clinched the Diamond Race and US$40,000 winner-takes-all cheque when he cleared a 2.43m at last year’s IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels.
It was the third Asian record of the summer to fall to the 23-year-old world indoor champion, making him the second-best jumper of all time after Cuba’s Javier Sotomayor, whose world record of 2.45m is increasingly under threat.
“I am looking forward to come to Shanghai. I want to give the people of China a perspective of the high jump. Imagine me jumping over basketball player Yao Ming. He is 2.29m tall that means I can jump over him by 14 centimetres. So please, come and support the movement out there!”
Barshim has competed in Shanghai once before, in 2013. He was victorious that day with 2.33m but high jump standards have advanced so much over the past two years that he may well need to go higher this time to secure his first IAAF Diamond League victory of 2015.
He certainly looks in the sort of form to continue where he left off last year and has roared back into action during the 2015 indoor season with four wins out of four and two more Asian records.
He topped the 2015 world indoor list with 2.41m, some seven centimetres higher than anyone else in the world this year. This was good enough to place him equal fourth on the world indoor all-time list.
Barshim is no stranger to winning in China and claimed his first Asian Games title in Guangzhou in 2010.
He also won gold medals at the past two Asian Indoor Championships, which were held in Hangzhou in 2012 and 2014.
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