The 2023 season is just around the corner. With the inaugural winner, the highest odds ever, and more in the spotlight, we’re eagerly anticipating who will take home the grand prize trophy.
The first round of the 2023 season kicked off the year with some of the strongest players in the game. In the first final, the Changwon Excellent, Kim Dong-hoon (20th Dong Seoul) set the tone with a convincing victory. In the final of the Gwangmyeong starting class, Kim Sun-koo, a rookie from the 27th class, won the first round in his debut, while Son Kyung-soo, a senior graduate from the 27th class, won the final of the excellent class.
The highlight of the first round was the specialty class final. In a field of strong players, including super specialist Yang Seung-won, Hwang In-hyuk (21st Sejong), who had many ups and downs last year, won the title, marking a refreshing start to the year.
The Wangjoong Wangjeon, which concludes the first half of the year, was a battle of the stars. Super special teams such as Lim Chae-bin, Jung Jong-jin, Jung Hae-min, and Yang Seung-won competed for the title. Last year’s winner, Im Chae-bin, overcame Jung Hae-min’s tuck in a straight line to cross the finish line. Lim has now won four trophies in the Grand Prix this year, and if she wins the Grand Prix as well, she will have the most wins in the Grand Prix and the most prize money of the year.
In addition, on October 21st of this year, in the Gwangmyeong 2 race, while the top contenders, Jeon Young-jo, Baek Dong-ho, and Chung Chan-gun, all withdrew, the unexpected returnees, Jang Dong-min, Moon Sung-sung, and Jin Ik-nam, shared the first, second, and third positions and paid the largest odds of all time, 19,533.2x. Experts say this is a record that will likely never be broken. The previous record was 14,813.6x for the Gwangmyeong 15th race on July 20, 2018.
There is also interest in who will take home the inaugural Grand Prix trophy. The first Grand Prix in 2023 was the Sport Seoul on February 26. As it was the first Grand Prix, all the sailors were eager to take the lead, but the winner was Jung Jong-jin (20th Gimpo), who won five consecutive Grand Prix titles. He then went on to take the trophy in each of the Grand Prix events that Lim Chae-bin did not compete in, giving him a total of three podium finishes this year. If he can hold on to the upcoming Grand Prix, he is expected to win an unprecedented six consecutive Grand Prix titles, as well as the year’s most wins and prize money.