Stars of Asiad

(Asiad) N. Korean lifters dedicate victories to young leader

2014/09/23 13:49

By Kim You Jin

INCHEON, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's two record-breaking lifters Om Yun-chol and Kim Un-guk on Tuesday dedicated their gold medals at the 2014 Asian Games to Kim Jong-un, sticking to their usual script as they demonstrated their loyalty to the young leader of the reclusive country.

"Our dear leader, who empathized with my (hardships) during training, gave me the love and support to help me achieve such a successful result," Kim said during a press conference.

The 25-year-old on Sunday won the men's 62-kilogram event after breaking the world record in both the snatch and total weight, wowing the audience with his powerful lifts.

North Korean weightlifters Om Yun-chol (L) and Kim Un-guk hold up their medals during an award ceremony held to celebrate their record-breaking performances on Sept. 23, 2014. (Yonhap) North Korean weightlifters Om Yun-chol (L) and Kim Un-guk hold up their medals during an award ceremony held to celebrate their record-breaking performances on Sept. 23, 2014. (Yonhap)

His triumph came only a day after another record-breaking performance by Om Yun-chol, who also snatched the gold in the men's 56㎏ event.

Om also offered his medal to the North Korean dictator, saying his "secret to winning" lay in Kim Jong-un's teachings and his country's political ideology.

The two star athletes, sporting their gold medals, were bombarded with camera flashes as they each received a Swiss-made Tissot watch from the Asiad organizing committee on Tuesday for their results.

Although seemingly stiff at first, a smile gradually spread on their faces, and the North Korean athletes even held up their fists to pose for the camera. Several officials from their delegation recorded the lifters' special moment with a small camcorder.

As to what kind of rewards their home country might give them, the two said they would like nothing more than to simply bring joy to their leader and people.

"The one thing we long for is to give joy to our leader Kim Jong-un, and it is also our source of pride and happiness that we are able to give pleasure to the people (with our victories)," Kim said.

Responding to a question on whether the athletes experienced any problems during their stay, the world champions said they had "no trouble" at all.

"We would also like to give thanks to those from the South who cheered for us during our events," Om said with a shy smile on his face.

Although the weightlifters are free to rest having finished all their Asiad events, the two said they will continue to support their fellow athletes waiting to compete.

"Some of our athletes are still preparing for their competitions, so I will have to stay alert until they are done as well," said Kim.

yjkim8826@yna.co.kr

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