Kim Kuk-Hyang Makes History For North Korea With Women’s 10M Diving Title at 2015 FINA World Championships

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Photo Courtesy: R-Sport / MIA Segodnya

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Tiny Kim Kuk-Hyang propelled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to their first-ever gold medal at the FINA World Championships, showing the strongest nerve to trump her Chinese rivals and win the women’s 10m diving crown.

Sixteen-year-old Kim trailed defending champion Si Yajie and heir-apparent Ren Qian going into the last round of the five-dive final but threw down an enormous challenge with her concluding back 2-1/2 somersaults with 1-1/2 twists which netted two perfect 10s and a score of 91.20 points.

Si, leading into the last round but now with no room for error, tackled the same combination next but faltered and managed only 72.00 points, leaving the destiny of title in the hands of 14-year-old Ren, who had utterly dominated the preliminary and semi-final rounds the previous day. But this time the task proved too much for Ren, who scored 76.80 on that same fateful back dive, leaving her 9.05 points adrift overall. That meant Kim was world champion with an aggregate 397.05 points, relegating Ren to silver on 388.00 and letting in Olympic bronze medallist Pandelela Rinong Pamg of Malaysia for the bronze on 385.05. Si dropped out of the medals to fourth place, less than a point behind Pamg on 384.40.

Kim was overcome with emotion as they played her country’s anthem and raised her nation’s flag in the medal presentation on the podium. She saluted tearfully and sang the words of the anthem, then turned to smile happily and wave to the applauding crowd. It was DPR Korea’s second diving medal of Kazan after Song Nam-hyang, who finished 10th in this final, and Kim Un-hyang gained a bronze in the women’s 10m synchro, the country’s first-ever world championship medals in any of the aquatic disciplines.

In an error-strewn final in which the lead changed hands in every round, Kim had gathered two 10s in earlier dives before her final thunderbolt which clinched the crown. Ren had two 10s in the penultimate round which thrust her into title contention after an unconvincing start, while Si led after rounds two and four.

China, who won the first five diving titles in Kazan, have added only one of subsequent four, Tania Cagnotto of Italy (women’s 1m), Tom Daley and Rebecca Gallantree of Great Britain (mixed team) and now Kim (women’s 10m) shattering their previous air of invincibility.

Si had started China on the winning track when she and Tai Xiaohu won the opening mixed 10m synchro title. Si has grown a lot since she dethroned Chen on the 10m board at 14 at the 2013 Barcelona Worlds and was lucky to get the chance to defend the 10m title, gaining her place in the final national trials after Liu Huixia injured her right shoulder a month before Kazan. Liu recovered sufficiently to compete in Kazan, retaining the women’s 10m synchro title with Chen. Paola Espinosa, Mexico’s world 10m champion in 2009, failed to make the final, having been eliminated in the semi-final round in which she finished 17th of 18 divers.

The above article is a press release submitted to Swimming World. To reach our audience, contact us at newsmaster@swimmingworld.com.

2015 FINA World Championships, Diving: Day 7 Results – Results

1 comment

  1. avatar

    Now she’ll get to party with Dennis Rodman and Lil Kim!