Korean Woo returns to Hustopeče after one-year break
After last year's enforced absence, the 2022 winner, world number four, world indoor champion and silver medallist from the outdoor championships, Korean representative Sanghyeok Woo, returns to Hustopeče. This charming and ever smiling athlete won the year before last in Hustopeče with 236 cm, which is his absolute best and also that year's absolute best world performance. This year he is going to Hustopeče with the aim to try to improve it and thus lay the foundation for the season that will culminate in the Olympic Games in Paris. In his first start in Hustopeče, Woo won the popularity of the Hustopeče fans, who can once again look forward not only to a great show he puts on in the jumping sector, but also to excellent performances above the bar. The former junior world champion and fourth at the last Olympics in Tokyo also holds a number of valuable medals, including gold at the Asian Championships and silver at the Asian Games.
Last year's winner Hamish Kerr from New Zealand will not travel to Europe this year and will prepare for the Olympic Games at home. So the biggest rivals for S. Woo will definitely be two athletes from the top ten of the world rankings. World number seven and the best Cuban high jumper Enrique Luis Zayas will compete in Hustopeče for the fourth time. He always thrives in Hustopeče, in 2022 he was third, in both his other starts he finished fifth. The 2016 Junior World Champion with a personal best of 233 cm has matured into an experienced competitor. Last year he remained just off the medal podium in fourth place at the World Championships in Budapest and then went on to win the Pan American Games. The new face in Hustopeče will be the world's top eight athlete Norbert Kobielski, who impressed the high jump world at the end of last season when he finished second in the Diamond League final in a new personal best of 233 cm.
The fourth man from the 2017 World Championships in London and the seventh from the 2022 World Indoor Championships, Mexican Edgar Rivera, also has experience from competitions in Hustopeče. This year he will compete in Hustopeče for the seventh time. Last year he finished 2nd here and repeated his position from his first start in 2017, when he broke the world extra class 230 cm for the first time. His personal best is one centimetre better. Hustopeče is one of his favourite competitions, which he proves by the fact that he trains here every year with local young athletes, for whom he is a great role model. "The priority for this year is of course the Olympic Games and the World Indoor Championships. That's where all my training is going this year," the Mexican sweetheart told us. "I would like to jump as high as possible in Hustopeče to have peace of mind for the next preparation. I believe that I will be able to do that because I have always had a good time jumping here." Alongside his experienced colleague, the second Mexican competitor Erick Portillo, who unexpectedly finished third in his Hustopeče debut last year, will also be present this year. In the world rankings he is in the second ten and his personal best is 228 cm. He is coming to Hustopeče with the goal of surpassing 230 cm for the first time in his career. Thomas Carmoy, the 2019 European Junior Champion and sixth at the 2022 World Indoor Championships, has the same goal. Last year was the most successful year of his career so far, when he won the bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul with a performance of 229 cm, his personal best so far. Another participant of the South Moravian high jump event Majd Eddin Ghazal from Syria can boast a respectable personal best of 236 cm. The bronze medallist from the 2017 World Championships in London and the seventh from the 2016 Olympic Games is well known to Czech athletics fans from his frequent starts in the Czech Republic.