Mutaz Essa Barshim in the high jump at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Birmingham, UK

Preview: men's high jump – IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018

Mutaz Essa Barshim, the 2017 IAAF world male athlete of the year, will be one of the biggest stars in action at Arena Birmingham this week.

The 26-year-old Qatari athlete leapt a world-leading 2.38m at the Asian Indoor Championships in early February, but withdrew from the recent Athlone Grand Prix, citing “difficult technical problems”.

If the two-time Olympic medallist is unable to rectify his issues before the World Indoor Championships, he may not be able to regain the title he won in 2014.

Barshim’s fiercest competitor may come in the shape of Danil Lysenko, who will jump as an authorised neutral athlete.

The 20-year-old world silver medallist has enjoyed an unbeaten winter campaign, setting lifetime bests of 2.35m, 2.36m and 2.37m en route to his seven victories.

Poland’s Sylwester Bednarek should also be in the medal mix. The European indoor champion equalled his lifetime best of 2.33m in Trinec last month to finish second to Lysenko.

Bronze medallist in Portland two years ago, USA’s 2012 Olympic silver medallist Erik Kynard has jumped 2.31m this season and can never be discounted.

Bahamian Donald Thomas earned his place in Birmingham by winning the 2017 IAAF World Indoor Tour. The 2007 world champion, now 33, has competed just once this winter, but showed decent form by leaping 2.31m in Banska Bystrica.

Birmingham-based Robbie Grabarz is the home hope for the British team in this, an event in which he shared the Olympic bronze medal in 2012 and took silver in Portland. The 30-year-old 2012 European champion has a season’s best of 2.30m set on 6 January.

Nicola Sutton for the IAAF