Home History books Woo Sang-hyeok leaps into the history books with world championship silver

Woo Sang-hyeok leaps into the history books with world championship silver


SEOUL, July 19 (Yonhap) — Every time South Korean high jumper Woo Sang-hyeok steps onto the pitch, he seems to be making history for a country that has long missed finding its first international star. athletics.

Woo’s last stunt came at the World Championships in Athletics in Eugene, Oregon on Monday (local time), where he jumped into the history books with his silver medal.

Woo cleared 2.35 meters to equal his own national record and finished just behind Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar, who won his third consecutive world title at 2.37m. Woo’s silver is the best performance by a South Korean in any event at an outdoor world championship.

Woo, 26, is only the second South Korean athlete to medal at the world outdoor championships, after walker Kim Hyun-sub. The main difference is that Woo will step onto the podium the same year he won his medal. Kim finished sixth in the men’s 20km walk in 2011 and moved up to bronze eight years later after three athletes above him tested positive for banned substances.

Woo started winning national junior titles a decade ago, but had his first international breakthrough at the Tokyo Summer Olympics last year, where he placed fourth with a national record height of 2, 35 meters. He came within 2 centimeters of co-gold medalists Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy. It was still the best Olympic performance by a South Korean in any track and field event, and hinted at even brighter days to come for the rising jumper.

And Woo delivered at every turn. Earlier this year, Woo clinched three indoor titles, highlighted by world indoor gold in Serbia in March. He followed that up with a Diamond League gold medal in May for his first major outdoor title, beating Barshim on his home soil in Qatar, and Woo has sprinkled a few national titles along the way.

Woo arrived in Eugene with the second-highest height in the world this season at 2.33m. The only one ahead of him, Ivan Ivanyuk of Russia, was banned from competition following his country’s invasion of Ukraine, while other athletes with more pedigree, such as Tamberi and Barshim, were outclassed by Woo all year.

Woo was rightfully considered among the top contenders for gold in Eugene, and he provided a taste by finishing tied for first last Friday.

The drama film premiered on Monday, and while it didn’t quite get the happy ending Woo would have liked, it still left with another piece of South American athletics history. Korean in his name.

Although he didn’t win a medal in Tokyo, Woo was one of the most popular South Korean athletes coming out of the Olympics. He entered the national consciousness with his easy smile, exuberant celebrations and “What am I worried about?” approach competitions under pressure and stress.

Over the months that followed, Woo proved he was not just a carefree guy, but a world-class athlete whose competitive fire burned beneath that carefree facade.

Given Woo’s recent streak of performances, his medal in Eugene almost had an inescapable feel, as if Woo was somehow destined to win a medal and only his color remained to be determined on the field.

Although Woo won silver this time around, he will have plenty of chances to win the coveted gold at major events as he enters his prime.

The biennial world championships had been held in odd-numbered years, but the 2021 competition was pushed back to this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the next edition will stay the course and will take place in 2023, followed by the Summer Olympics in Paris in 2024 and other world championships in 2025.