Written by HyunCheon Kim / Translated by JaeMin Woo
“When I crossed the finish line, I felt like I was going to fly away,” said Jung Su Park, who came in first place in the 55m hurdles in the New England Indoor Championship on Saturday, by beating 36 athletes with an impressive record of 7.40s.
As a senior at Newton South High School, Park has gained attention for not only being the only Korean athlete participating in this event, but also for defeating 36 other athletes and winning the gold medal.
Prior to this race, Park has also won the All State Championship last month, after defeating 24 runners with the record of 7.57s.
Park, who is also preparing for the U.S.A. High School Indoor Track Championship happening in New York this Saturday, is rather petite, reaching 5ft 9in and weighing 138 lbs. Although at first he did not receive attention while running in a group where the majority was over 6ft tall, he proved that after all, size did not matter.
“People told me that I would not be able to compete with taller American athletes, especially with my bent legs. It became more of a motivation than a discouragement. I put in even more effort to prove that people like me can do it too.”
Jung joined the track team in 8th grade when his mother recommended it to him. After joining the team, he tried high jump, long jump, 100m/400m dashes and was finally placed into 55m hurdles by the coach.
He confessed that 3-4 hour long practices were very challenging. He could not stop running even on weekends or vacations. It was especially difficult for him in his junior year, when he had to focus on both track and academics.
However, in order to break the records for scholarships and to deliver good news to his grandparents in Korea, he clenched his teeth.
In the end, he proved worthy of his nickname, “Super Scion” (a character from ‘Dragon Ball’), by winning both the Dual County League Championship and the State Division 1 Championship, and breaking the records from his school, Dual County League and State Division 1.
Jung, who suffered back and leg injuries, said “I learned that if I try my best and don’t give up, it’s still possible to achieve my goal during hardships,.”
As a faithful Christian despite his young age, Jung said, “I couldn’t have possibly done so well by myself. God’s words and his faith in me gave me strength.”
Finally, he added, “I feel really great to return the favor to my mother, who went through hardships as a mother.” .
ⓒ 보스톤코리아(http://www.bostonkorea.com), 무단전재 및 재배포 금지