It was the 18th time for Korea to stand on top in its history of participation in the event.
In the 42nd edition, which ended a six-day run on Sunday, Korea won 12 gold, five silver and six bronze medals.
Switzerland was second with nine gold, three silver and five bronze medals, followed by Chinese Taipei in third with six gold, four silver and eight bronze medals.
|Won Hyun-woo, an employee of Hyundai Heavy Industries, competes in the field of construction metal work at the 2013 World Skills Competition in Leipzig, Germany. He scored the most points in the competition. (Yonhap News)|
Korea first joined the 16th World Skills Competition in Spain in 1967, and has since participated in 27 competitions, including in 2013. It has ranked first in 18 of them, including four straight wins in 2007 in Japan, 2009 in Canada, 2011 in Britain and 2013 in Germany.
The Leipzig World Skills Competition drew 1,027 competitors from 53 countries. Korea sent 41 contestants in 37 skill categories.
Won Hyun-woo, 21, a Hyundai Heavy Industries employee who competed in construction metal work, shared the Albert Vidal award with Shinpei Utsunomiya of Japan, the gold medalist in information network cabling, as the joint top scorers of the competition with 565 points.
In confectionery and pastry cooking, a skill long favored by Europe, Kang Dong-seok, 20, a third-year student of the Korea Hotel Vocational Training Institute, brought Korea its first-ever gold medal.
Jeon Hong, 20, a trainee of Kim Yong Hee Jewellery, won Korea’s fourth straight gold medal in jewelry making.
No Sung-jae, 19, an employee of Samsung Techwin, clinched Korea’s third straight title in CNC milling.
A pair of 20-year-old Samsung Electronics workers, Kim Seung-min and Seo Dong-chan, took Korea’s second consecutive gold medal in the duo event of mobile robotics.
Two of three high school graduates of this year competing in Leipzig ― Lee Gyu-chul, 19, of Samsung Electronics, and Cho Yong-ku, 19, of Samsung Techwin ― became champions in IT software solutions for business and web design, respectively.
The World Skills Competition is held every two years for young skilled technicians.
Korea awards medalists of the competition with 67.2 million won ($58,400) for a gold medal, 33.6 million won for a silver medal and 22.4 million won for a bronze medal in prize money, as well as decorations.
Korean medalists will also receive various benefits including an alternative military duty which can be fulfilled by working at industrial sites.
“Our fourth consecutive title, which came with an increasing number of competing countries and the skill gap narrowing among countries, has reaffirmed Korea’s prowess as a global power in skilled talent,” Song Young-jung, official delegate of Korea and president of Human Resources Development Service of Korea, told reporters.
By Chun Sung-woo (firstname.lastname@example.org)