Mutaz Essa Barshim and Bogdan Bondarenko will challenge the high jump world record when they compete at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games on Friday 24 July, the London leg of the IAAF Diamond League series.
Javier Sotomayor’s world record of 2.45m has stood since 1993, but has come under serious threat in recent years as Barshim and Bondarenko have had a series of thrilling clashes. Barshim has beaten Bondarenko nine times compared to eight victories for the Ukrainian and both athletes cleared 2.38m when they last competed on British soil at the 2014 Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix.
This will be their third clash in the Olympic Stadium, their first being at the 2012 Games where both cleared 2.29m with Barshim taking the bronze medal on count-back. One year later, at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, Bondarenko gained revenge, jumping 2.38m to comfortably beat his Qatari rival.
World indoor champion Barshim, who is second on the world all-time list with a personal best of 2.43m, has cleared 2.40m or higher on no fewer than eight occasions while world and European champion Bondarenko, equal third all-time with a best of 2.42m, has scaled 2.40m a total of seven times. Both athletes are now confident that the world record could fall in London.
“It was amazing to compete in London at the Olympics in 2012,” said Barshim. “To get a bronze medal made it even more special so I can’t wait to go back and compete there again at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games.
“My main focus is to improve myself and with that, the record will fall, and the support from the crowd will play a big role in that.”
“Sotomayor’s world record is really strong but we’re getting closer to it and the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games could be the time when it happens, which would be really special,” added Bondarenko. “It’s great to be up against someone like Barshim because we push each other further in every competition and it makes the event very exciting for the fans, but there will be a lot of good athletes in London so I will have to be at my very best.”
Barshim and Bondarenko headline a strong field, which also includes Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz, USA’s Olympic silver medallist Erik Kynard and Italy’s Marco Fassinotti.
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