Stars of Asiad

(Asiad) Record-breaking N. Korean lifter Kim Un-ju feels S. Koreans' warm hearts

2014/09/28 12:05

By Kim Boram

INCHEON, Sept. 28 (Yonhap) -- North Korean gold-medal winning weightlifter Kim Un-ju said Sunday that she felt the warm-heartedness of South Koreans who encouraged Kim during her record-breaking quest at the Incheon Asian Games.

In the women's under-75㎏ weightlifting on Thursday, Kim lifted 128㎏ in the snatch and then hoisted a world record of 164㎏ in the clean and jerk for a total of 292㎏ -- a new Asian Games record.

She is one of the four North Korean gold medal winners in weightlifting at this year's Asiad and also became the third weightlifter from the North to set a new world record in the sport, following Kim Un-guk and Om Yun-chol on the men's side.

Repeating the toe-curling rhetoric that the "love and support" of Marshal Kim Jong-un helped her lift the world's heaviest barbell, Kim Un-ju also said she was boosted by the warm support of South Korean fans.

"I don't care the place I compete at. No difference. International competitions are the same," said the world record holder, answering to a question on whether she felt something special to rewrite a record here in Incheon, south of the fortified border, a symbol of the ceasefire, not a peace treaty, that ended the Korean War.

"They rooted for me on behalf of the one (Korean) nation. I competed to repay their expectations and warm support," Kim said.

She said she has felt a lot of pressure to have better results to keep up with other athletes' improvements throughout the world.

"It was hard to endure all the burden on me and injuries as well," said the North Korean lifter.

Her coach Choe Nong-gyun pointed out North Koreans' strong lower body has caused them to shine in international events in recent years.

"Each country has its own ways of training," said Choe. "Our people have stronger lower bodies than others. This is the key to our success."


North Korean weightlifter Kim Un-ju (Yonhap file photo) North Korean weightlifter Kim Un-ju (Yonhap file photo)