North takes first gold at swim final

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North takes first gold at swim final


North Korea’s Kim Kuk-hyang won gold on Thursday at the Swimming World Championships. [AP/NEWSIS]

KAZAN, Russia - North Korea won its first gold medal Thursday at the world aquatics championships, taken by 16-year-old Kim Kuk-hyang in women’s 10-meter diving.

In her first international competition, Kim produced a stunning final dive, earning two perfect 10 scores from seven judges for a total of 397.05 points.

On the next dive, the leader up to that point, world champion Si Yajie of China, made errors that dropped her to fourth.

“I would like to appreciate our government and our nation for their great support,” Kim said through a translator.

She added that she expected “all the people ... will come to the streets” to welcome her when she returns to North Korea.

Kim saluted during the medal ceremony, which she said was a sign of respect to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The silver went to 14-year-old Chinese diver Ren Qian on 388.

“I don’t think my second place is related to my age,” Ren said, adding that Kim’s high scores made her “nervous.’’

Pandelela Rinong Anak Pamg of Malaysia came in third with 385.05.

North Korea had never won a medal at any aquatic worlds until this month and now has two, both in diving. Kim Un-hyang and Song Nam-hyang won the first medal on Monday, a bronze in the women’s synchronized 10-meter platform.

All 12 finalists earned places for their countries at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next year.

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