Qatari Olympic bronze medalist Mutaz Barshim has been named Arab Athlete of the Year at the 5th Mohamed Bin Rashid Creative Sports Awards in Dubai.
The prize follows two significant achievements this year for the 22-year-old high jumper – a silver medal at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow, and a new Asian record at the Diamond League tournament in the US.
It also rounds off a challenging year for the athlete, who in July was forced to withdraw from the Asian athletics championships in India due to a back injury.
Barshim, an Aspire Academy graduate, is the son of a former Qatari athlete.
In his IAAF biography, Barshim explains how his father inspired him:
“He was an athlete in the national team, in both walking and running events. He did the 20km walk and 10km running. I saw him on TV many times, and I was going to events to watch him. I liked it. He was Gulf champion maybe two or three times, and won medals in the Arab championships. I remember him doing the victory sign on TV, and I ran to the neighbours, to tell them.”
The Mohamed Bin Rashid award, founded by Dubai’s Crown Prince, honors individuals and teams who are deemed to have demonstrated “creativity” in the sports field.
It’s not the first time Qatar has featured in the awards – last year, the Qatar Olympic Committee was awarded the “International Level” prize for its hosting of the Arab Games in December 2011.