Driven Barshim Still Spearheading Qatar’s Challenge at Fourth Games 

Mutaz Barshim. (AFP)
Mutaz Barshim. (AFP)
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Driven Barshim Still Spearheading Qatar’s Challenge at Fourth Games 

Mutaz Barshim. (AFP)
Mutaz Barshim. (AFP)

Mutaz Barshim was at the center of one of most memorable moments of the Tokyo Olympics and the high jumper will again carry a large part of Qatar's hopes of medal success on his slender shoulders in his fourth Summer Games in Paris.

The 32-year-old's shared gold medal was not the only one secured by the Gulf State in Tokyo and Egypt-born weightlifter Fares Ibrahim will also be back to defend the middle-heavyweight title he won three years ago.

Sherif Younes and Ahmed Tejan, the beach volleyball duo who won bronze in Japan, are well on their way to qualification for Paris but it is the athletics competition, and Barshim in particular, that most Qatari eyes will be focused on.

Three-times a world champion and an Olympic silver medalist in London and Rio, Barshim said recently that he does not display his impressive collection of trophies for fear that complacency might blunt his competitive spirit.

"If you come to my house, you will not see any medals. There are no medals, no trophies, nothing," he told Eurosport.

"I hide everything because I don't want to feel that satisfaction that I've done so much. One day, hopefully, when I retire, I take everything back, I'll look at it and enjoy it. But for now, I want to do the most.

"I want to be mentioned as one of the high jump greats. I want my name to be mentioned whenever high jump is mentioned. I want to make it hard and difficult for the person who's coming behind me to break my records."

The biggest prize in Barshim's collection is the gold he won alongside Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi in Tokyo after both cleared 2.37 meters and sensationally agreed with officials that there would be two champions.

"That will never happen again," Barshim said. "It was a moment, and it was, I think, a historical moment, but it's not going to happen again. Now we must go and push the limit."

Barshim has shown no signs of resting on his laurels even a decade on from his jump of 2.43m that remains the second highest leap in history.

He had the second highest mark in the world last year (2.36) and has finished second in both the high jump competitions in the Diamond League this season.

"People are always asking me, 'How are you still going?', given the fact that I won everything," he said.

"For me, I look at the sport like there's not one single goal that I'm looking for. I want to be a world champion, and then it's done. No, I've achieved that. It's good. What can I do more? I want to win it twice, three times. I want to do more."

Qatar sent 15 athletes, including two women, to Tokyo and, with eight athletes already qualified, will be hoping for a similarly sized delegation in Paris.

The other athletes already qualified are shooters Saeed Abu Shareb and Rashid Saleh Al-Athba and track athletes Abu Bakr Haider, Ismail Daoud, Bassem Hemeida and Abdulrahman Samba.



Macron: Decision to Dissolve Parliament Should Not Spoil Olympics Mood

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a flags ceremony at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron attends a flags ceremony at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
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Macron: Decision to Dissolve Parliament Should Not Spoil Olympics Mood

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a flags ceremony at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron attends a flags ceremony at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday he did not think his decision to dissolve parliament and call for new parliamentary elections would spoil the mood ahead of next month's Olympic Games.

"French people have no wish for the Olympic Games to not take place," said Macron, speaking at a G7 summit in Italy.

The snap election, called at very short notice by Macron after his centrist alliance was trounced by the far-right National Rally in Sunday's European Parliament ballot, has upended French politics, with parties rushing to field candidates and prepare platforms.

Opinion polls project that Marine Le Pen's RN could, for the first time, top the June 30 and July 7 vote but without enough seats to win an absolute majority and govern on its own.

The RN has been kept out of power for decades by voters mistrustful of the far right and its radical policies, as well as by a decades-old consensus among mainstream parties to join forces against it.
But under the helm of Le Pen and new party leader Jordan Bardella, they have worked to detoxify their image and woo a growing number of voters across the board.