Shanghai/Suzhou Diamond League announces newly-crowned world indoor high jump champion Hamish Kerr will take on Mutaz Barshim in China.

New Zealander Kerr is the world leader for 2024 having cleared 2.36m to take his maiden global title in Glasgow and will have high hopes of backing it up against perhaps the greatest of his generation in Barshim.

The Qatari three-time world champion has prioritized training in the build-up to his Olympic defence later this year, not competing since winning his third Asian Games title in October 2023 and skipping the championships where Kerr beat a high-class field.

For Barshim it will be one of the key indicators of his form as he aims to become the first to ever win two men’s Olympic high jump titles.

No man in history has won more world outdoor titles than the three Barshim won in succession between 2017 and 2022, as well as a bronze in the most recent championships in Budapest. Barshim: “I’m happy to be back in China to start my new season. Last year I finished my season in China at the Asian Games and it was a fantastic atmosphere and support. I have never been in Suzhou but looking forward to visit and competing there and a great competition.”

Kerr, the Oceania record holder, is quickly amassing an impressive collection of his own. In 2022 the 27-year-old backed up World indoor bronze with Commonwealth Games gold that summer and 2023 saw him win his first Diamond League event in Stockholm.

He’ll hope to close the gap on Barshim in that respect, the 32-year-old being three times an overall Diamond League winner, with 23 individual event wins. Kerr: “I’m looking forward to making my first-ever trip to China a successful one. After jumping 2.36 at World Indoors, I know I am in great shape leading into the meeting. I can’t wait to compete against some of the other best jumpers in the world, in front of what will be an amazing crowd.”.

With pole vault world record holder Mondo Duplantis already announced, the high jump pair will certainly be in good company in Suzhou.

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