Tokyo (AFP)

The Italian Gianmarco Tamberi and the Qatari Mutaz Essa Barshim were both crowned Olympic champions on Sunday at the Tokyo Olympics.

Belarusian Maksim Nedasekau completes the podium, third.

The three men have all climbed 2.37m, but while Barshim and Tamberi were placed in a perfect tie for gold, they edged Belarus in tries.

Tamberi and Barshim, two friends, had the choice between going in a kind of play-off to designate a single winner or share the gold, they opted for the second option, hugging each other in front of the saltire.

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Both returned from serious ankle injuries.

“Sharing this with Marco gives me an amazing feeling, I'm so happy. It's a dream I don't want to leave. I've been through so much, I've waited five years with injuries, flashbacks "Barshim said.

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The Qatari, double reigning world champion, won a third consecutive Olympic podium at the age of 30, after silver in 2012 and 2016.

Tamberi won his first international outdoor title at the age of 29 (he was world indoor champion in 2016).

The Italian, drunk with happiness, rolled around for a long time before jumping into the arms of all the athletes who passed near him, until the coronation of his compatriot Lamont Marcell Jacobs in the 100 m.

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"I just wanted to come back to the top level after my injuries, but to win gold it's incredible, I dreamed of it so much," he said.

"I was told in 2016 just before Rio (serious ankle injury) that there was a risk that I would not be able to jump anymore. It has been a long road."

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