All eyes will be on “Smile Jumper” Woo Sang-hyuk (27, Yongin City Hall) to see if he can once again make history in Korean athletics.
Woo will compete in the men’s high jump preliminaries at the 19th World Athletics Championships at the National Athletics Stadium in Budapest, Hungary, on Tuesday at 5:35 p.m. KST.
Woo made Korean athletics history last year when he won a silver medal at the World Championships in Eugene.
Previously, Korea’s best result in the high jump at a World Championships was a sixth-place finish by Lee Jin-taek at Seville 1999. At the time, Lee qualified for the final with a height of 2.29 meters and cleared 2.29 meters in the final to finish sixth. However, with the arrival of Woo Sang-hyuk, the best Korean high jump performance at a World Championships has been reestablished.
Woo’s silver medal last year was a huge achievement for Korean athletics as a whole, surpassing Kim Hyun-seop’s bronze medal in the 20km men’s race at Daegu in 2011.
However, Woo is not content with silver and has his sights set on the top of the world this time around.
First, Woo will have to surpass the automatic qualifying mark of 2:30 or finish in the top 12 regardless of group among the 37 athletes on today’s qualifying list to advance to the final, which starts at 2:58 a.m. on the 23rd.
Barring any major upsets, Woo should have no trouble making the final. Woo’s personal bests are 2.36 meters indoors and 2.35 meters outdoors.
There are only six other jumpers in the competition with higher outdoor personal bests than Woo: Mutaz Essa Bassim (32-Qatar-2m43), Andriy Prochenko (35-Ukraine-2m40), Jean-Marco Tamberi (31-Italy-2m39), Donald Thomas (38-Bahamas-2m37), Jubon Harrison (24-USA-2m36) and Brandon Stark (29-AUS-2m36).
It’s a three-way battle for the title. Many experts are predicting a battle between Woo, the “best jumper in the world,” Bassim, and Harrison, the current world points leader.
Bashim is coming off a strong victory in Eugene, where he became the first men’s high jumper to win three consecutive World Championships.
Notably, Bassim defeated Woo Sang-hyuk for gold in Eugene last year. However, Woo won the silver medal in the men’s high jump in the opening round of the 2023 World Athletics Diamond League in Qatar in May, clearing a higher mark than Bashim.안전놀이터
Bashim will also be wary of the rise of Harrison, who has won three Diamond League titles this year.
“If Woo can overcome the competition and achieve his goal, he will have changed the history of Korean athletics once again.