Woo Sang-hyuk (27-Yongin City Hall) remained nervous on the day he became the first Korean athlete to win a Diamond League Final title .”I have to work towards my goal of winning gold at the Asian Games,” he said after clearing 2.35m in the men’s high jump at the World Athletics Federation Diamond League Final 2023 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, USA, on 17 July. “I will bask in the joy of winning the Diamond League Final for a while, but I will continue to prepare for the Asian Games, including weight management.” The Diamond League Final was held today without the services of top-ranked Mutaz Essa Barsim (32-Katar).Barshim, who is playing a “season-limited” number of games after struggling with back and ankle injuries in 2017, is believed to have opted out of the Diamond League Final to prepare for the Hangzhou Asian Games, where he will compete in the men’s high jump final on 4 October. “Competing with Barsim creates the right amount of tension,” Woo said, “and I think it will be more fun to compete at the Hangzhou Asian Games with Barsim. Winning a gold medal at the Asian Games is also a very important goal for me. I will do my best to compete with Barsim.”Barsim won back-to-back Asian Games titles in Guangzhou in 2010 (2.27m) and Incheon in 2014 (2.35m).However, he injured his ankle in the 2017 season and missed the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. Woo finished 10th at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon (2.20m) as a high school student, but won a silver medal in Jakarta (2.28m) in 2018.After breaking through as one of the world’s top jumpers at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics (fourth at 2.35m), and achieving a string of glittering milestones in Korean athletics, including winning the World Indoor Championships in 2022 (2.34m), finishing second at the Outdoor World Championships (2.35m) and winning the Diamond League Final in 2023 (2.35m), Woo will be aiming for his first individual Asian Games title in Hangzhou this year. If Woo surpasses Barsim in Hangzhou, Korean athletics will have won men’s high jump gold at an Asian Games for the first time in 21 years since Lee Jin-taek (Bangkok 1998, Busan 2002).At the World Championships in Budapest on 23 August, Woo finished sixth with a height of 2.29m, denying Korean athletics the dream of becoming the first country to win back-to-back world championship medals. However, Woo was undeterred and achieved his second goal of the year, winning the Diamond League Final. “At the World Championships in Budapest, he couldn’t shake off the pressure and didn’t show his best performance,” said national coach Kim Do-gyun. “If you can’t beat yourself, you can’t beat your competitors. “Fortunately, Woo Sang-hyuk recovered from the Zurich Diamond League (1 September) and showed a better performance in this final. “At the Hangzhou Asian Games, he will be able to stand at the top of the podium if he shows what he’s prepared for and doesn’t care about the rankings like in this final. “Woo will compete in the men’s high jump at the Hangzhou Asian Games, with qualifying on 2 October and the final on 4 October .With his qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games virtually assured, Woo can look forward to the Hangzhou Asian Games and the start of the 2024 season with a lighter heart .The standard for Paris is 2.33m and the qualification period is from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024. Woo passed the Paris Olympic standard early on. “After I passed the Paris Olympic standard of 2.33m, Coach Kim Do-gyun said, ‘You can run more comfortably now. “After passing the Paris Olympic standard, I was relieved of the pressure and was able to easily clear 2.35m,” he recalled. If this momentum carries over to Hangzhou, Woo could be in contention for the title with Barshim. Coach Kim Do-gyun said, “I’m very happy that he surpassed the Paris Olympic standard within this year. It will be a 스포츠토토링크 positive factor for the Hangzhou Asian Games,” analysed Kim.