WRITTEN FOR THE IAAF WEBSITE
Arguably one of the brightest stars set to grace Arena Birmingham will be the male 2017 IAAF World Athlete of the Year, Mutaz Essa Barshim.
The 26-year-old Qatari athlete leapt an impressive 2.38m world lead in the Asian Championships in early February, and despite having competed sparingly this season, the 2014 world indoor champion will still be the hot favourite to add another global crown to his collection.
The two-time Olympic medalist will look to replicate the form which saw him claim the world outdoor title in London last summer, and to inch closer to his 2.41m indoor best dating back to 2015.
Barshim’s fiercest competitor may come in the shape of Danil Lysenko, who will jump as an authorised neutral athlete.
The 20-year-old world outdoor silver medalist has enjoyed an eye-catching winter campaign, setting no less than three lifetime bests – with 2.37m back in January his finest clearance.
Poland’s Sylwester Bednarek, the European indoor champion, will also be in the medal mix courtesy of the recent form that saw him leap an equal 2.33m personal best and take victory in Torun.
A bronze medalist at the last edition of the championships in Portland two years ago, Erik Kynard of the USA has jumped 2.31m this season and the 2012 Olympic runner-up should challenge again.
Bahamian, Donald Thomas has only competed once this winter – with a 2.31m clearance – but the 33-year-old 2007 world outdoor champion should never be discounted on the big stage.
Birmingham-based Robbie Grabarz is the home hope for the British team in this, an event in which he shared the Olympic bronze medal in 2012 and took silver in Portland.
The 30-year-old 2012 European outdoor champion has a 2018 best of 2.30m from the turn of the year but will be hoping the local support can inspire him to leap onto the rostrum once more.