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Kerr to compete against world's best

Hamish Kerr high jump
Hamish Kerr will lineup with the world's best high jumpers in Doha. PHOTO: ATHLETICS NZ

World indoor high jump champion Hamish Kerr is all set to compete alongside a star-studded field in Doha.

The special one-off high jump spectacle, What Gravity Challenge, on Thursday (Friday NZ Time) at the Katara Amphitheatre has been organised by Qatar high jump legend Mutaz Barshim, the reigning Olympic champion and three-time world champion.

Kerr has been invited along with 11 other of the world's finest high jumpers, which includes a trio of 2.40m-plus jumpers and the reigning world and Olympic champions.

However, despite the undoubted quality on show, given his recent form, the 27-year-old Kiwi has nothing to fear from the opposition and will be seeking to maintain his excellent streak of results and pursue a first prize of US15,000 (almost NZ$25,000).

Winning the world indoor title in Glasgow with a world-leading jump and national record of 2.36m represented a huge breakthrough performance by the Christchurch-based jumper, who last month further cemented his status within the high jumping world by defeating Barshim to win the Suzhou Diamond League with a clearance of 2.31m.

Barshim, the all-time world number two with a best of 2.43m, will look to avenge that defeat in front of a passionate home crowd, who will be desperate to see the Qatari claim top spot.

Also entered is reigning joint Olympic title holder - alongside Barshim - and current world champion Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy, who will be competing in his first competition of the year.

JuVaughn Harrison of the US, a 2.36m jumper like Kerr, and world silver medallist from last year is also entered as is Korean Sanghyeok Woo, a former world indoor champion who in Glasgow in March secured a World Indoor bronze medal.

The experienced Ukrainian duo of Andrei Protsenko, the 2022 World Championships bronze medallist and 2013 world champion Bohdan Bondarenko, both 2.40m jumpers at their best, are also entered.

"It is an amazing event to be a part of and outside of a major championship you are not likely to see a more stacked field," Kerr said.

"It is credit to Barshim and his legacy that he has managed to put together such a quality event, which heralds a new era for our sport. Taking what is quite a traditional concept and putting it in a unique setting is a fantastic way to showcase high jump and our unique skillset."


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