Korean Motorboat Racers Stage exhibition Race in Japan [2008/05/12]
Korean motorboat racers in the exhibition race
The Omura Motorboat Racing Course in Nagasaki Prefecture is the birthplace of motorboat racing. On April 6, the course invited six Korean star boat racers to hold an exhibition race--the first time that Korean motorboat racers have raced in Japan. The purpose of the event was to promote ties between Japan and Korea, and marked a new stage in the international sport.
Motorboat racing began at Omura on April 6, 1952, after which race courses were built all over the nation in response to its popularity. Decades later, South Korea also took up the sport, adopting the Japanese style of organization, including operating and racing procedures, and the establishment of the Cycling and Motorboat Racing Act of 1991. (Photo: Photos of Misari Motorboat Racing Course on display)
Motorboat racing in Korea began at the Misari Motorboat Racing Course in Hanam City, near Seoul, on June 18, 2002. Races are held every Wednesday and Thursday from March to December. Some 150 racers (including 21 women) are currently registered, and the greatest annual earnings by a single racer to date stands at around 13 million yen. Although Misari is Korea’s only racecourse, people can watch races on screen and bet at several off-site locations, including one in Seoul.
The six racers (four men and two women) who participated in the exhibition represent South Korea’s top motorboat racers. Although the race was held while tickets were being sold (meaning that punters could not bet on the Korean race), many spectators gathered to watch and cheer the racers. The winner of the race was a woman, Pak Jung Ah (29), who started from the first slot and demonstrated superb racing form.(Photo: An exhibition race at Omura Motorboat Racing Course)
A photo exhibition and a talk show were held in conjunction with the exhibition, in order to introduce Misari Motorboat Racing Course. People were encouraged to vote for the racer they thought was going to win. A free trip to South Korea was presented to one person drawn at random from among those correctly picking the winner. Motorboat racing has been in decline due to the stagnating economy and the recent increase in varieties of leisure sports. However, the strong support of fans led the industry to mark up total sales of 1 trillion yen in fiscal 2007. While other public sports continue to face difficulties, motorboat racing is on the road to recovery.