Barshim delivers gold in front of Qatar's Emir
Doha (AFP) –
Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim received the personal congratulations of the country's Emir after he sent the crowd wild on Friday by retaining his high jump title at the World Athletics Championships.
The 28-year-old, who had got himself out of trouble by succeeding on his third and final attempt at 2.33 metres, took gold with a jump of 2.37m in front of a racuous and packed Khalifa Stadium.
Barshim, who in a farcical moment appeared for his medal ceremony in an empty stadium before the three medallists were hurriedly ushered off and told to return on Saturday, revealed he had chatted with the country's ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
"I felt that (support) a lot from the crowd, from the emir himself to everyone who come out tonight," said Barshim.
"I was with him (the emir) just now. I can't tell you (what he said) -- it's top secret."
Barshim, who will bid to make it a full house of Olympic medals next year having won silver and bronze, said he had revelled in the pressure of performing in front of his compatriots.
"Of course there was a lot of pressure, but I need pressure to jump," he said.
"I love competing on a high ground with a strong field so that was my thing to push myself to the maximum.
"It means everything to me I'm really happy to do it here at home.
"To everybody who came out here to support and believed in me I just wanted to do this for them."
The minor medals went to two athletes competing under the Authorised Neutral Athlete banner.
Mikhail Akimenko took silver on countback with 2.35m and Ilya Ivanyuk won the bronze with 2.35m.
© 2019 AFP