Woo Sang-hyeok running toward a place where Korean athletics has never been before

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He is 188 cm tall, which is not too tall for a high jumper, and his right foot is more than 10 mm smaller than his left due to a traffic accident. Not many expected Woo Sang-hyeok (27, Yongin City Hall) to succeed. He continued to break new records in Korea, and recorded the best ever result of 4th place in the Olympics. Now, he is aiming for a gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games in September and the Paris Olympics next year. It is a world that no one has ever experienced, a landscape that only Woo Sang-hyeok can see in Korea. In celebration of the 18th anniversary of the founding of Sports Trend, I met Woo Sang-hyeok who was training in Jeju last month.

Woo Sang-hyeok started track and field when he was in the 4th grade at Jungri Elementary School in Daejeon. He started out with running, but soon switched to the high jump. The high jump suited my aptitude rather well. Woo Sang-hyeok said, “Once I started running, other people were too fast.” I was angry with the kids who were faster than me and I was stressed out too much,” he laughed. The high jump was nice because I didn’t have to do that. It’s because it’s a fight with the bar you’re facing, and a fight with yourself. Woo Sang-hyeok said, “I think that’s why I worked harder because there is nothing better than training hard, doing my best in my turn, overcoming it without regrets, and even succeeding.”

Woo Sang-hyeok, who was on a winning streak, fell into a slump around 2017. In June of that year he surpassed his personal best of 2m30 at the national track and field championships, but has since hit a wall. Woo Sang-hyeok said, “If you have exceeded 2m30, you have to go over 2m31, but you couldn’t jump over 1cm. I did my best, but it didn’t work.”

In the middle of a slump, I met coach Kim Do-gyun. Along with coach Yoon Jong-hyeong, who was his first teacher in elementary school, Woo Sang-hyeok considers him as the ‘teacher of life’. While training with coach Kim from 2019, Woo Sang-hyeok decided to change the way he had been doing it so far. He lost weight by reorganizing his diet around vegetables and fish, and tried to put down the obsession caused by his strong desire to compete.

That’s how Woo Sang-hyeok came out of the slump. A month prior to the event, at the Tokyo Olympics in August 2021, when he dramatically won the right to participate, he climbed to fourth place with a new Korean record of 2m35, and six months later, he won the indoor competition held in the Czech Republic with 2m36 and changed the record again.

The high jump is a sport in which success and failure are intertwined in an instant. It is also a sport that requires the same training every day to win the moment. You have to train your whole body evenly, and you have to pay attention to the movement of the tips of your toes. Even now, Woo Sang-hyeok is repeating his drill of moving the go ball with his toes. You have to stand with one foot on a disc-shaped balance ball, pick up the go ball with the other toe, and move it. It’s a training I’ve already won, but I’m still annoyed when it doesn’t go right먹튀검증.

Woo Sang-hyeok said, “It’s fun to run with a bar. The most hated and boring thing to do is basic training,” he said. Woo Sang-hyeok compared the same basic training every day to his nails. Just like nails grow, it is the basic training that becomes evident at any moment.

Woo Sang-hyuk is aiming for the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary in August, the Asian Games in Hangzhou in September, and the Paris Olympics next year. He had the best record at the Tokyo Olympics, but it was regrettable that there were no spectators in the aftermath of Corona 19. He is Woo Sang-hyeok, who says that singing in front of others is the least suitable for him, but his personality changes only when he is on the field. He enjoys the applause and cheers of the crowd more than anyone else. This is why Woo Sang-hyuk is looking forward to the Paris Olympics, which will be filled with tens of thousands of spectators.

It’s a boring story, but Woo Sang-hyeok is the sign and hope of Korean track and field. He cannot be free from the burden of grades and records. Coach Kim, who is no different from his life partner, can’t handle that instead. “I can’t see the scenery that Sanghyuk is seeing right now. No one knows in Korea. That’s the most regrettable thing,” coach Kim said.

Woo Sang-hyeok said, “It would be nice to be first place every time we compete with world-class players, but it can’t always be like that.” He says that good results will come if you keep your own pace rather than being conscious of your competitors.

After training for three weeks in Jeju, Woo Sang-hyeok started this season with second place (2m27) in the Qatar Doha Diamond League held on the 6th. On the 7th, he jumped 2m32 at the KBS National Track and Field Championships held in Yecheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Korean athletics only won one gold medal in the women’s 100m hurdles by Jung Hye-rim at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang. In the Olympics she has not yet won a single medal besides the marathon. Woo Sang-hyeok is preparing for a new leap toward the unknown territory that no one has reached.

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