Woo Sang-hyeok Becomes 1st Korean High Jumper to Win Diamond League

      September 18, 2023 10:39

      Woo Sang-hyeok won the men's high jump at the Diamond League Final in Eugene, Oregon last Saturday, becoming the first Korean ever to win the prestigious athletics title.
      He cleared 2.35 m, tying his outdoor personal best, to win the final.
      "I'm so happy to win the Diamond League Final, which was one of my lifetime goals," he said. "Now I'll try my best to win a gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China."
      The league is an annual series of World Athletics competitions among some 10 top-tier athletes in each track-and-field discipline. During 13 meets throughout the year, they compete to qualify for the final meet, in which only the top six compete.
      Last year Woo became the first Korean athlete invited to the league, but failed to make it to the final, finishing seventh in the overall rankings after the 13 meets. But this year he ranked fourth and secured a ticket to the final.
      Woo Sang-hyeok reacts with his trophy after winning the men's high jump at the Diamond League Final at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Sept. 16, in this photo from his Instagram account.
      Woo's rivals Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy, the winner of this year's World Athletics Championships, missed this year's final. Norbert Kobielski of Poland finished second, followed by JuVaughn Harrison of the U.S., who won three individual league events this year.
      Woo's next goal is to win a gold medal at the upcoming Asian Games, which kick off in Hangzhou, China this coming Saturday. He has been performing well on the world stage but has yet to win the quadrennial event.
      After winning a silver medal at the Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018, Woo initially struggled to repeat his success at major competitions. However, he managed to improve his performance by losing weight and has become one of the best Asian high jumpers along with Barshim. The two rivals will meet at this year’s Asian Games.
      If Woo clinches a gold medal in Hangzhou, he will be the first Korean high jumper to win gold at the Asian Games in 21 years. Lee Jin-taek topped the podium in 1998 and 2002.
      The men's high jump final in Hangzhou will be held on Oct. 4.
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