BP2017

Two years ago at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, 16-year-old Kim Kuk Hyang surprised all by winning the women’s 10m platform event ahead of favourrites Chinese divers.

Success did not repeat itself at the Rio Olympics but she is hoping to shine again at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest.

Defending champion Si Yajie, Ren Qian, or maybe Melissa Wu or Pandelela Rinong were the favourites to win the gold in Kazan 2017, however 16-year-old North Korean Kim Kuk Hyang surprised everyone and clinch the top medal at stake.



Emotional moment for Kim Kuk Hyang after winning gold

Kim Kuk Hyang took up diving relatively late, at age 12, unusual considering Chinese divers often start this sport at age 4 or 5.

Kim’s first major international event was the 2015 FINA World Championships where she performed superbly in the last round of the 5-dive final.

"I have appreciated each and every moment of this final. I train five hours a day, and I perform about 40 dives during the training. My model in the sport is the Chinese diver Chen Ruolin and I had the opportunity to compete against her. I tried to do my best. This was my first international event and my objective in Kazan was to get the Olympic qualification", she said in an interview with FINA.

The gold medal meant of course automatic qualification for the Olympics, and Kim’s goal was to finish on the podium at the Rio Games, too, where she competed in the 10m synchro together with her partner Kim Mi Rae. Although they both performed really well, they failed to win a medal (4th place).

The individual 10m turned out to be a nightmare for her, finishing in 25th place.

However Kim came back stronger and performed well at this year’s FINA/NVC Diving World Series events: she took bronze in the 10m and added a silver in the 10m synchro with Mi Rae in Guangzhou, and won another bronze in Beijing.

The young athlete might not be among the top favourites at the 17th FINA World Championships, yet she has a chance to achieve a good score again.

The final of the 10m synchro will be held on 16 July, while the final of the 10m platform on 19 July in the new Duna Arena in Budapest, presumably with Kim Kuk Hyang.