“Hunting for my first gold medal at the World Championships… I’ve lost weight and gained venom”
“I will bring back the gold medal I entrusted to you.”
These are the words of “Smile Jumper” Woo Sang-hyuk (27-Yongin City Hall) ahead of the 2023 World Athletics Championships, which kick off on Sept. 19 in Budapest, Hungary. “It’s too bad I didn’t win gold,” said Woo, who won South Korea’s first ever silver medal in the men’s high jump at the Eugene Games in the United States last year.메이저놀이터
Whether Woo wins gold, silver or bronze, he will make history for South Korean athletics. He would become the first Korean athlete to win a gold medal at the World Championships and the first to win back-to-back medals at the World Championships. At this point, Woo is expected to win at least a bronze medal.
Woo is one of the favorites to win the title. Woo’s personal bests are 2m36 indoors and 2m35 outdoors. There are six athletes competing in the event who have higher outdoor personal bests than Woo: Mutaz Barshim (32-Qatar-2m43), Andriy Prochenko (35-Ukraine-2m40), Gianmarco Tamberi (31-Italy-2m39), Donald Thomas (38-Bahamas-2m37), Jervon Harrison (24-USA) and Brandon Stark (29-Australia-2m36).
However, most experts are analyzing a three-way battle between Barshim, the top-ranked man in the world after winning three consecutive men’s high jump titles last year, Harrison, the current world leader in points, and Woo. The World Association of Athletics Federations (WA) describes Woo as “a strong contender for the title after winning silver at the World Athletics Championships and gold at the World Indoor Championships last year,” while Barshim, who will be looking to win his fourth consecutive World Championships title, recently cleared a season’s best (2m36) and Harrison has been in good form, winning three Diamond League events this year.” Woo’s season’s best of 2m33 is tied for sixth on the season behind Barsim (2m35) and Harrison (2m35).
“My preparation for the World Athletics Championships has been really good,” Woo said at a press conference at the Incheon Munhak Stadium on Feb. 2. “I’m confident in the result because I did my best,” Woo said. I will bring home the gold medal I was entrusted with at the World Championships,” he emphasized. “I worked really hard to control my diet to lose weight. I honestly think that the gold medal at the World Championships belongs to me if I can control my appetite to this extent. I plan to lose about 2 kilograms more before the competition.”
If Woo wins, he will become the sixth male high jumper in history to win both the indoor and outdoor championships. To date, only five other athletes have won both the indoor and outdoor world titles – Patrik Shevori (Sweden, 1985 indoor, 1987 outdoor), Charles Austin (USA, 1997 indoor, 1991 outdoor), Javier Sotomayor (Cuba, 1989-1993-1995-1999 indoor, 1993-1997 outdoor), Yaroslav Rybakov (Russia, 2006 indoor, 2009 outdoor), and Varshim (2014 indoor, 2017-2019-2022 outdoor).
Woo will compete in the preliminaries at 5:35 p.m. on the 20th and the final at 2:55 a.m. on the 23rd. Three other Korean athletes are also competing at the World Championships: Ko Seung-hwan (26, Gwangju) in the men’s 200 meters, Kim Jang-woo (24, Jangheung-gun) in the men’s triple jump and Lee Jung-sun (26, Ansan) in the women’s shot put. Woo, Sang-hyuk, and the rest of the Korean athletes will look to build on their World Championships performances and win medals at the Asian Games in Hangzhou in September.
In the men’s pole vault, it will be interesting to see if Amund Duplantis (24-Sweden) can reclaim the world record. Dubbed the ‘human bird’, he holds the outdoor (6m21) and indoor (6m22) world records, as well as all the outdoor first-third and indoor first-fifth places. It’s been said that his only competition is himself.
‘Mama Sprinter’ Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (37, Jamaica) will try to win back-to-back titles in the women’s 100m. She won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a string of international titles before announcing her pregnancy in March 2017. After giving birth, she returned to run a personal best of 10.60 in 2021 and finished first at last year’s world championships in 10.67.