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Skeleton racer Jeong Seung-gi aims for a gold medal in World Cup

Skeleton racer Jeong Seung-gi aims for a gold medal in World Cup

Posted February. 16, 2023 07:47,   

Updated February. 16, 2023 07:47


South Korean skeleton racer Jeong Seung-gi aims for a gold medal in the eighth and final race in the ISBF Skeleton World Cup in Sigulda, Latvia on Friday.

The Korean skeleton did not receive much attention this season, as Yun Sung-bin, who has been the “ace” player of the South Korean skeleton team for the past 10 years and a gold medalist in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, decided to take the season off. However, Jeong placed second, second, and third in the first, second, and third IBSF World Cup events and claimed the world's no. 1 after the third race.

“While Yun Sung-bin was a kind of genius, Jeong Seung-gi has achieved results through systematic training,” Cho In-ho, head coach of the Korean national bobsleigh and skeleton team, said. Jeong first started skeleton in the third year of middle school. Born in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, Jeong persuaded his parents to transfer to Daegwallyeong Middle School in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province, to focus on skeleton, then to Sangji Daegwallyeong High School, the only high school with bobsleigh skeleton club in the country. Unlike Yun, who started skeleton only in the third year of high school, Jeong was trained under a structured management system. “Although Seung-gi has been ranked first in the world, he has a hunger for the number one place in the World Cup. It was the first season that Seung-gi played after changing the equipment, and he seemed to be a bit tense, but now he is enjoying himself,” Cho said.

The Sigulda track, where the final race of the season will take place, is where Jeong won his first World Cup medal. He finished third after the Dukurs Brothers, Thomas Durkus and Martins Dukurs of Latvia, who played with a home advantage during the sixth race run in the 2021-2022 season. Martins Dukurs, a legendary skeleton racer, who claimed No. 1 in the World Cup 11 times, including last season, has retired. Thomas Dukurs, the defending champion, has yet to announce his participation in this season’s race, although he has not announced retirement. If Jeong, currently ranked fifth in the world, tops the World Cup, his overall ranking for the season may rise to the top three.

This season, Jeong Seung-gi won medals in the first three races in the IBSF North American Cup, where he accumulated much experience since his junior years. Jeong lost the race by 0.01 seconds to Marcus Wyatt in the first race held in Whistler, Canada. In the fourth race in the European Cup held in Winterberg, Germany, where he had relatively little experience, Jeong finished in 13th place. The South Korean skeleton racer, however, has finished second in the seventh race held in Innsbruck, Austria, and won his fourth World Cup medal of the season. Jeong also won a bronze medal at the World Championships held in January in St. Mortiz, Switzerland, continuing his medal streak.

Bo-Mi Im bom@donga.com