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Secretary General presented Fair Play Award to Mutaz Barshim in Qatar

Memorable moment in Tokyo Olympic Stadium. Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy served up one of the most heartwarming moments of the delayed Tokyo 2020 Games at the Olympic Stadium when they chose to share gold medals in the men’s high jump competition.

The Fair Play Award was presented by Sunil Sabharwal, Secretary General of CIFP in Qatar, on the occasion of the closing ceremony of SDG /Sustainable Development Goals/ Pavilion by Education Above All (EAA) Foundation was the culmination of the events and activities that have brought attention to, and action in support of the SDGs, alongside the World Cup Qatar 2022.

On the video from 23:50: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZyEgPLa9DY

Let's recall the story!

Both jumpers had failed in their attempts to scale the Olympic record of 2.39m after flawlessly clearing previous heights to stay locked in first place. So they were given the option of a jump-off to settle matters, but Barshim quickly asked: “Can we have two golds?”

As soon as the official said it was possible, the pair high-fived and hugged in agreement. Barshim and Tamberi had delivered an enthralling men’s high jump final, dominating from the start, and no decision could have been more befitting for such an incredible comeback tale. It was a beautiful display of sportsmanship, and even more memorable was the celebration that followed as Tamberi screamed the Olympic Stadium down before rolling on the track with so much excitement.

In spite of this happening in a stadium without fans, the moment resonated across the world and attracted lots of reactions on social media.

SPORTSMANSHIP “It's history,” Barshim said at the press conference. “Coming out here after what we've been through (long-term injury), it just takes so much mentally, physically. What I've been through after a very bad injury, it could be ending (my) career. But coming here and being at the top of the game, to win the Olympics, it's a dream come true.

“Once we finished with that 2.39m jump he just looked at me, I looked at him, and we just understood that there was no need to go (and compete). It wasn't even a question. This is a real moment here. When we say we've been through a lot, it just doesn't mean that. We literally have some days that we couldn't even enjoy. I couldn't get out of bed, I needed help to get out of bed, I needed help to go to the toilet. I could not even think of putting a shoe on.

“This is beyond sport. This is sportsmanship, and this is the message we deliver to the young generation.”

INJURIES A career-threatening injury had forced Tamberi out of the Rio 2016 Games. The charismatic Italian was in great form ahead of Rio after winning that year’s World Indoor and European Championships and improved his national record to 2.39m at the Monaco Diamond League meeting before pushing on for 2.41m and suffering a broken ankle on his third attempt.

This happened less than three weeks before the Games. Tamberi could only watch the Rio 2016 high jump final from the crowd wearing a cast on his leg. Speaking later on television after the win in Tokyo, Tamberi showed a part of the plaster and on it written “Road to Tokyo” with the date 2020 crossed out and replaced by 2021. It was obvious how much the gold meant to him as he screamed, jumped, shared hugs and kisses in celebration.

Barshim also had a tough road to Tokyo having been plagued by injuries in recent years. In 2018 he suffered a severe left ankle injury, like Tamberi did right before the 2016 Rio Olympics.

COMEBACK “I am still a bit disorientated,” Tamberi said. “I dreamt this night so many times. This last five years were so difficult. I have passed through so many difficulties. I still remember the Rio 2016 Games when I was in the crowd, in the cast and crutches, watching them jumping in the final (due) to that injury. I said to myself that day I want to be in Tokyo and fight for a gold medal.

“It's been crazy. I still can't believe that it happened, when the judge come to us and asked, ‘Do you know the rules about jump-off'. I will probably never, ever share a gold medal with anybody else other than Mutaz (Essa Barshim), because we were the only two athletes who passed through the worst injury any high jumper can pass through. I know what he did to come back, he knew what I did to come back.

“You can't leave the emotion, of the dream of a gold medal, to somebody who sacrificed his entire life for this, and it was just amazing. Sharing with a friend is more beautiful. The doctor who did my surgery, he told me, 'I don't know if you can jump after the surgery'. He said just think about walking and running, for a normal life. And winning a gold medal after that, an Olympic gold medal.”

BEST FRIENDS The pair have since recovered with Tamberi winning the European indoor title in Glasgow in 2019 before taking silver this year in Torun and Barshim claiming home gold in the Doha 2019 World Championships. However, nothing beats being at their best on the biggest stage of sport as their friendship, which dates back to the 2010 World Junior Championships in New Brunswick continues to soar and inspire.

“He is one of my best friends. Not only on the track but outside of the track,” Barshim said. “We are always together almost,” he added.
They had even briefly talked about the possibility of tying for victory before.

“We just said, ‘imagine’,” Barshim recalled. “Today, it happened.”

Barshim, who won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olmypic Games and silver in Rio, came close to reaching the men’s high jump world record in 2014 when he leapt 2.43m. Javier Sotomayor’s record of 2.45m has stood since 1993.

The morning after a magical night in Tokyo, he tweeted: “What is better than one gold? TWO!!” with a photo of him and his co-gold medallist posing in front of the Olympic rings inside the Athletes’ Village.


Source: AIPS Media & CIFP