‘First gateway to world title’ Woo advances to final with fourth-place qualifying finish
South Korea’s “Smile Jumper” Woo Sang-hyuk (27, Yongin City Hall) has made it through the first gate in his quest to win the country’s first ever world championship in track and field.
Woo cleared 2.28 meters to finish fourth in the men’s high jump qualifying round at the Budapest 2023 World Athletics Championships at the Budapest National Stadium in Hungary on Tuesday.
On the day, Woo cleared 2.14, 2.18 and 2.22 in the first round and 2.25 in the second round.
He cleared 2.28 meters in the first round to qualify for the final.
Thirty-seven athletes registered for the men’s high jump qualifier, but only 36 actually competed.
The automatic qualifying mark for the final was 2.30 meters, but 13 finalists cleared 2.28 meters, including a tie for 12th place.
Thirteen athletes cleared 2.28 meters in the preliminaries, and four athletes cleared 2.28 meters in the first round, including Woo Sang-hyuk.
Woo will try to win the title in the final.
In the preliminaries, Woo cleared 2.14 meters in the first round as if he was practicing, then easily cleared the 2.18-meter bar with a good distance to spare, then made a “V” while looking at the broadcast camera.
After clearing 2.22 meters, he shouted, “Heavy rain.
After failing to clear 2.25 meters in the first round, Woo was not intimidated at all.
After clearing 2.25 meters in the second attempt, Woo assumed a “Popeye pose.
After clearing 2.28 meters in the first round, Woo smiled while swinging his right index finger. His actions and facial expressions were full of confidence.
Mutaz Essa Barshim (32-Qatar), the ‘best in the world’ who will be looking for his fourth consecutive world title, started at 2.22m and finished his qualification with just three jumps (2.22, 2.25 and 2.28, all cleared in the first round).
Jubon Harrison (USA), who is undefeated this season, also cleared 2.18m, 2.22m, 2.25m and 2.28m in the first round without a single failure.
Ryoichi Akamatsu (JPN), 28, also cleared 2.28 without fail to join Barshim and Harrison as the top qualifiers.
Woo Sang-hyuk (KOR) also cleared 2.28m in the first round, but one failure at 2.25m dropped him to fourth in qualifying.
Jean-Marco Tamberi (31-Italy), who finished joint first with Barshim at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, was in danger of being eliminated after failing the first and second periods of the 2.28, but cleared the bar in the third period to punch his ticket to the final in ninth place in qualifying.
Everyone in the final will start again with the same conditions.
Experts expect Woo to be in a three-way battle with Barshim and Harrison.
At last year’s World Championships in Eugene, Woo tied for first in qualifying with a jump of 2.28m and cleared 2.35m in the final to finish second behind Barshim at 2.37m.
This year in Budapest, Woo made it to the World Championships final for the second time in a row, as he also qualified easily.
For a long time, ‘qualifying’ was also a high barrier for Korean men’s high jump.
In 1993 in Stuttgart, Lee Jin-taek became the first Korean high jumper to qualify for the World Championships, but he failed to clear 2.20 meters.
In Gothenburg in 1995, he failed to qualify for the final with a height of 2.24 meters.
Desperate, Lee cleared 2.28 meters in Athens in 1997 to qualify and finish eighth in the final at 2.29 meters.
At the 1999 Seville Games, Lee also qualified for the final with a jump of 2.29 meters and finished sixth in the final with a jump of 2.29 meters.
Prior to Woo’s arrival, Lee’s sixth-place finish at the 1999 meeting was the highest ever by a South Korean high jumper at a World Championships.
Woo also failed to qualify at London 2017, clearing just 2.22 meters. He didn’t even qualify for the 2019 World Championships in Doha.
However, after breaking out as a world-class jumper at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics (4th in 2.35m), Woo made it to the final at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, where he cleared 2.28m and tied for first before winning silver in the final with 2.35m.
It was the best World Championships performance by a South Korean athlete, surpassing Kim Hyun-seop, who won bronze in the men’s 20-kilometer race at Daegu in 2011.
If Woo finishes in the top three in the final on Wednesday, he will become the first Korean athlete to win two consecutive World Championships medals.
However, 먹튀검증토토사이트 Woo’s dreams are set even higher.
“I will definitely bring back the gold medal I was entrusted with,” Woo said before leaving for Budapest.
After clearing the bars with his trademark lightness of touch in qualifying, Woo took another step closer to his dream of winning the world title.