Seoul, Republic of Korea

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Park Ji Won (KOR) ©International Skating Union (ISU)


The International Skating Union (ISU) is pleased to have the KB Financial Group as the title sponsor for the final event of the Short Track season.  “Throughout the years, KB has been a strong supporter of skating and the athletes.” Said Jae Youl Kim, president of the ISU “We are thrilled to have KB as the title sponsor of the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2023 in Seoul. Together with KB, we look forward to a very exciting event for the skaters and all fans worldwide.”

Yoon Jong Kyoo, chairman & CEO of the KB Financial Group said, “Following the sponsorship of the 2016 KB World Short Track Speed Skating Championships, it is an honor to form a partnership with ISU once again. The World Short Track Championships, in which KB Financial Group participated as a title sponsor, is the most prestigious international competition where world famous short track athletes from all over the world gather to decide the best skater of the season. KB Financial Group will continue to expand and spread good influence for the future generations of sports athletes can fulfill their dreams on the world stage."

2022/23 promises to draw to a thrilling climax this weekend when the KB Financial Group ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships take place in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 March.

In the Men’s field, the home athletes at the Mokdong Ice Rink will be favored to dominate – especially the newly crowned Crystal Globe winner, Park Ji Won (KOR), 26. In the Women’s races, attention will focus on the all-conquering 25-year-old Suzanne Schulting (NED) as she takes on rivals from Korea, Canada, and from within her own talent-rammed squad.


Park expected to reign on local rink

Seoul born-and-bred racer Park comes into the Worlds on the back of a near-impeccable season.

He won the first ever Crystal Globe trophy by a stretch, excelling in the 1000m and 1500m, and will start both those World Championships distances as favorite.

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Park Ji Won (KOR) wins inaugural Crystal Globe ©International Skating Union (ISU)

Park is technically impeccable, physically sharp, and possesses unrivaled race management skills, rarely getting himself in trouble.

Perhaps only sheer speed can defeat Park – and teammate Hong Kyung Hwan (KOR) is one of the few Short Trackers who can better him in a flat-out final lap. Hong has enjoyed an impressive term, finishing second in the Globe battle, and has clocked some eye-catching performances, particularly in the 1500m.

Kim Tae Sung (KOR) has been strong, too, while teammate Lee June Seo has had a quiet season but is a skater with great pedigree – he won 1000m silver at last season’s Worlds – and can get in the mix to delight the Korean crowds.

Outside the local heroes, expect two Canadians with an appetite for the big occasion to try to spoil the Seoul party. Pascal Dion and Steven Dubois are both high-speed, combative racers, buoyed by Olympic success in Beijing, where they won Men’s 5000m Relay gold. They can dominate the 1000m and 500m respectively. Dion finished second overall on home ice in last season’s World Championships, which were held in Montreal.

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Lin Xiaojun (CHN) ©International Skating Union (ISU)

Another memorable story of the season has been Lin Xiaojun (CHN). Competing for Korea, he won 1500m Olympic gold at PyeongChang 2018, and was World Champion in that distance, in the 1000m, in the Men’s 5000m Relay, and overall the following season.

He left the Korean team in 2020, however, and went through the process of gaining Chinese citizenship. Finally cleared to skate for China in 2022, he won gold in the 500m at the concluding two World Cups this season, and the 26-year-old will be targeting victory at the venue he used to call home.

Perhaps the most exhilarating aspect of the Men’s field, though, is its unpredictability. Despite Park’s fine season, numerous names are always in contention – including upcoming Dutch buccaneer Jens van ’t Wout (NED), the crafty Sjinkie Knegt (NED), ever-improving Belgian Stijn Desmet, Italian speedster Pietro Sighel, and bustling Latvian Roberts Kruzbergs. Overall, it wouldn’t be shocking to see any of the top 25-ranked racers make a podium – which is always a recipe for excitement.


Schulting aiming for greatness

Suzanne Schulting arrives in Korea with a point to prove in the KB Financial Group ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships.

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Suzanne Schulting (NED) wins inaugural Crystal Globe ©International Skating Union (ISU)

She was frustratingly denied entry to last year’s contest in Montreal due to getting Covid-19: as 2021/22’s top skater, she would have targeted five medals. In 2019/20, meanwhile, the pandemic led to the Worlds being cancelled – another event she would have been tipped to rule.

Always highly driven, expect the Dutch dynamo to be reaching for another gear this time around. Schulting is in fine form, winning the women’s Crystal Globe with ease, and can take gold across all five distances, with the 1000m a particular favorite.

Expect her to rekindle the eternal rivalry with Choi Min Jeong (KOR), a four-time overall World Champion, who won gold at last year’s edition in the 1000m, the 1500m, the Women’s 3000m Relay and overall.

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Choi Min Jeong (KOR) ©International Skating Union (ISU)

Choi started this season intentionally slowly but in the more recent World Cups looked to be building back to her ominous best. Already one of Korea’s most famous sporting icons, Choi always brings out her best for the biggest occasion: another battle royale beckons.

Choi and Schulting are both accustomed to being the alpha racer on their respective teams but the past year has shown that this order might soon be upset.

Xandra Velzeboer (NED) won Olympic Relay gold at Beijing 2022 and followed that with her debut individual World Championship win last year in the 500m. Perhaps the athlete with the most raw speed on the circuit, Velzeboer has already engaged in several fierce battles with Schulting. The older athlete currently has more race savvy than her apprentice, but the gap is narrowing.

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Xandra Velzeboer (NED) ©International Skating Union (ISU)

A similar scenario seems to be developing in the Korean squad. Choi remains the legend, but 18-year-old Kim Gilli looks like she has a bright future in the sport. With similar technical excellence to Choi and the fearlessness of youth, she could steal the show in the Korean capital. Shim Suk Hee (KOR) has also had an excellent few months.

Elsewhere, Canada’s Courtney Sarault has had a very tidy season, winning three individual World Cup golds and staying consistent enough to finish second in the Crystal Globe race. Her countrywoman Kim Boutin will be spoiling to improve on her five silver medals from the 2022 Worlds, while Hanne Desmet of Belgium has started to convert her potential into gold this season.

Add in the ever-improving Anna Seidel (GER), Polish speed specialist Natalia Maliszewska and the battling Kristen Santos-Griswold (USA) and it’s a truly world-class field.

Men and women will fight for medals in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m. There will also be a 2000m Mixed Relay, 3000m Women’s Relay and 5000m Men’s relay. There is no overall World Championship title awarded.

For all information about the KB Financial Group ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships, please visit webpage here.


Where to watch

Viewers will be able to watch the KB Financial Group ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships competitions via their national broadcaster/channel.

For countries where there are no broadcasters and for the qualification and repechage races, the ISU will offer a live stream on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel. You will find the full list on the Where to watch webpage here.

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