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Inching toward history, Woo Sang-hyeok reaches men's high jump final at worlds

All News 08:56 July 16, 2022

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, July 16 (Yonhap) -- Woo Sang-hyeok has advanced to the men's high jump final at the world championships, moving a step closer to a piece of South Korean athletics history.

Woo tied three other jumpers for the top spot in the qualification phase held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, on Friday (local time), with the top 13 out of 28 athletes reaching the final.

In this Reuters photo, Woo Sang-hyeok of South Korea celebrates a successful attempt during the men's high jump qualification at the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, on July 15, 2022. (Yonhap)

Woo will now try to become the first South Korean gold medalist in any event at the biennial World Athletics Championships, beginning at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday (Korean time).

Woo has already set many "firsts." This year alone, Woo became the first South Korean athlete to win an indoor world title and also to capture a Diamond League gold medal. At last year's Tokyo Olympics, Woo finished in fourth place, the best Olympic performance by a track and field athlete from South Korea.

In this Getty Images photo, Woo Sang-hyeok of South Korea competes during the men's high jump qualification at the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, on July 15, 2022. (Yonhap)

In Friday's qualification in Eugene, Woo did not miss once, clearing 2.17m, 2.21m, 2.25m and 2.28m in first attempts. He was one of just four jumpers to put together a flawless performance on this day, alongside Django Lovett of Canada, Andriy Protsenko of Ukraine and Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar.

In this Getty Images photo, Woo Sang-hyeok of South Korea competes during the men's high jump qualification at the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, on July 15, 2022. (Yonhap)

The race walker Kim Hyun-sub remains the only world championships medalist from South Korea, with his bronze from the 2011 competition in the 20km race walk. Kim had initially ended in sixth place but moved up to bronze eight years later, thanks to failed doping tests for those who'd finished ahead of him.

If Woo wins gold, he will become only the second male high jumper to grab both indoor and outdoor world titles in the same year, joining Javier Sotomayor from 1993.

In this EPA photo, Woo Sang-hyeok of South Korea celebrates a successful attempt during the men's high jump qualification at the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, on July 15, 2022. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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