Thursday, 10 June 2010

WMRT: Korea Match Cup Welcomes the World to Gyeonggi Province

Local Hero GunWoo Beats Gilmour as Richard, Minoprio and Williams Lead

Boats at the Korea Match Cup 2010, © Subzero Images 2010.

by Cailah Leask

The world was welcomed today to South Korea’s Province of Gyeonggi, host to the ISAF World Match Racing Tour’s 3rd Stage of 2010. The global sailing series is bringing the world to Gyeonggi and Gyeonggi to the world by profiling this ambitious venue as an elite match race destination.

During a visually stimulating opening ceremony which included; a black belt taekwondo demonstration, naval gun salute, rendition of Abba, World Match Racing Tour teams parade and group singing of the Korean national anthem in a colossal open air stadium which saw Korea Match Cup commence.

Taekwondo demonstration at the Korea Match Cup opening ceremony © Subzero Images 2010.

The Governor of Gyeonggi Province, Republic of Korea addressed the 3000 strong crowd gathered to celebrate the opening of Korea Match Cup and the Korea International Boat Show, after a note of thanks to the Tour his speech confirmed the power of South Korea’s maritime leisure industry, “The ISAF World Match Racing Tour has inspired the people of Gyeonggi, it is one of Korea’s largest annual sporting events and is a powerful event for this region. It is rewarding to host such a high calibre set of sailors and will continue to create young talent for South Korea’s next generation of sailing sport enthusiasts”.

Gyeonggi has a vast international pull and has secured over 2,900 overseas companies to trade in this province, it is noted as ‘the foundation to Korea’s national economy’. Korea Match Cup annually inspires pro-racers from Europe, Asia and Australasia to travel to the race destination. The Northeast Asian hub is focusing on marine leisure and the tourist industry for its future growth, having recently attracted the world’s largest ‘Universal Studio Theme Park’ to take up residence.

Korea Match Cup Opening Ceremony © Subzero Images 2010.

The Tour takes in 10 international destinations around the world and allows the global recognition of each venue to grow through this unique sports platform. The WMRT venues have the ability to build an extensive profile and ‘communicate with the world’ through the professional sailing series.

Patrick Lim, Executive Chairman, ISAF World Match Racing Tour, accepted thanks from the Governor of Gyeonggi and highlighted Korea Match Cup as the biggest event on the 2010 Tour programme, “Stage 3 is a high profile event in the Tour annually attracting 300,000 spectators to watch some of the world’s top America’s Cup teams in action. Global fans will also be able to experience the action via live television coverage reaching 600 million households and live internet newsfeeds going to over 183 countries”.

Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar at the Korea Match Cup © Subzero Images 2010.

Racing started after the formalities with a light breeze which saw slow tactical boat manoeuvres by the top helms. It was definitely a day for demonstrating the power of the local hero after Park GunWoo (KOR) Busan Match Team, noted as an ‘unknown quantity’ previous to Korea Match Cup, stole the limelight from esteemed match racer Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing. GunWoo, wildcard entry to Korea Match Cup, has racing experience in dinghy fleets but only started the match racing discipline in November 2009. This 28 year old helm has a fantastic potential and is a face that the seasoned skippers will need to take note of.

When asked how he felt after beating a legend today, an excited GunWoo responded, “I just can’t believe it, all the guys racing here are world famous skippers and we are just happy to have an entry and sail against these pro-racers. We sailed well and are very happy”. Gilmour was on hand to offer his congratulations to the new Asian racing star adding, “GunWoo sailed a very good race and provided no openings”.

Guard of Honour at the Korea Match Cup Opening Ceremony © Subzero Images 2010.

The big names that have dominated the first two Stages of the 2010 Tour: Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team, Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/Black Match Racing and Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar have continued their consistency into Korea Match Cup all winning 3 out of 3 races on the first day’s racing.

Day 1: Current Round Robin Standings

Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 3-0
Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing 3-0
Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar 3-0
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Azzurra 2-1
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Gill Global Team 2-1
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 1-2
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 1-2
Bertrand Pacé (FRA) Aleph Sailing Team 1-2
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 1-2
Park GunWoo (KOR) Busan Match 1-2
Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Italia 0-3
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing Team 0-3

Korea Match Cup
World Match Racing Tour