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Armed with thorough preparation and confidence, ‘Smile Jumper’ Woo Sang-hyuk (27, Yongin City Hall) will take his first leap towards South Korea’s first ever world championship title.

The men’s high jump preliminaries for the 2023 World Championships will take place at 5:35 p.m. ET on July 20 at the National Athletics Stadium in Budapest, Hungary.

A total of 37 athletes have qualified for the men’s high jump.

The 37 athletes will compete in two groups, and those who clear the automatic qualifying mark of 2.30 meters or finish in the top 12 regardless of group will advance to the final, which will begin at 2:58 a.m. ET on March 23.

If the top 12 are eliminated before the 2.30 is attempted, the heats will end.

At the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, the automatic qualifying mark for the final was 2.30m, but the qualification ended with 13 finalists, including a tie for 12th at 2.28m.

There’s not much point in having “groups” in high jump qualifying. In order to shorten the competition time, two high jump bars were set up in two different locations and the athletes competed in A and B groups.

Qualification for the finals is also based solely on the ‘best time’, not the group ranking.

For a long time, ‘qualifying’ was also a high barrier for Korean men’s high jump.

At the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart, Lee Jin-taek, the first Korean male high jumper to compete at the World Championships, failed to qualify at 2.20 meters.

In Gothenburg in 1995, Lee 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 qualified for the final with a jump of 2.29 meters, and in the final, he also cleared 2.29 meters to place sixth.

Prior to Woo’s emergence, 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 his breakthrough as a world-class jumper at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics (2.35-4th), Woo entered the final at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene with a clearance of 2.28m and tied for first place before clearing 2.35m in the final to finish second behind Mutaz Essa Barshim (Qatar) at 2.37m.

It was the best World Championships performance by a South Korean athlete, surpassing Kim Hyun-seop, who won bronze in the men’s 20 kilometers at Daegu in 2011.

Woo will look to repeat in Budapest this year.

Barshim, a three-time world champion, Jubon Harrison (USA), who has won three Diamond League titles this year, and Woo Sang-hyuk are the favorites to win the title.

Woo, who won the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade last year (2.34m), will be looking to become the sixth athlete in history to win both the World Indoor and Outdoor Championships.

For Woo, the 20th qualifier is more of a final check before the ‘real’ final.

High jumpers expend a significant amount of energy with each jump, so it’s important to minimize the number of jumps in qualifying in preparation for the final.

At the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Woo cleared 2.17 meters, 2.21 meters, 2.25 meters, and 2.28 meters in the first round, reaching the final with just four jumps.

“I will show you a very fun and exciting jump from the qualification,” Woo said, “and if you support me, 먹튀검증 I will definitely bring back the gold medal that was entrusted to me,” he added.

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