South Korean diver Kim Su-ji captured a historic bronze in the women's 1m springboard at the FINA World Championships on Saturday, becoming the first South Korean diver to win a medal at the biennial competition.
Kim's bronze at Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul, was also the host nation's first medal of this year's championships. She scored 257.20 points.
Chen Yiwen of China ran away with the gold with 285.45 points, and Sarah Bacon of the United States got silver with 262 points.
|South Korean diver Kim Su-ji performs during the final of the women`s 1m springboard at the 18th FINA World Championships at Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul, on Saturday. (Yonhap)|
Kim is the first female athlete from South Korea to reach the world championships podium. Previously, male swimmer Park Tae-hwan had been the only South Korean, man or woman, to have won a world championships medal, having grabbed two gold medals and one bronze medal in freestyle swimming.
Kim had an excellent first dive to earn 55.20 points and put herself in third place. She climbed to second place with 57.20 points in her next dive and trailed Chen Yiwen of China by only
1.55 points, while leading Julia Vincent of South Africa by 8.60 points.
Chang Yani of China was tied for first place after the opening dive, but she only earned 39 points in her second attempt to fall out of contention and give Kim an opening.
Kim put up 48.30 points in the third attempt to reach 160.70 points, and Chen pulled away with 61.10 points in her third dive that lifted her to 175.05 points.
With two attempts remaining, everyone else was fighting for second place. Kim eared 49.20 points in her fourth dive to put more distance between herself and the group directly behind her, and by now, at least the bronze medal was well within reach.
Going into the last dive, Kim, with 209.90 points, led American Sarah Bacon by 3.80 points. Katherine Torrance of Britain was 9.10 points behind the South Korean.
Kim had 47.30 points in her final dive, a forward 1 1/2 somersault with a twist, and it was her lowest score of the day.
Bacon leapfrogged Kim to second place with 55.90 points in her final attempt. The only suspense remaining for Kim was whether Kristina Ilinykh of Russia would catch her with in her final dive, which had a degree of difficulty of 3.0.
With Kim having already finished, Ilinykh needed 53.90 points to equal the South Korean but only managed 49.50 points.
The Russian ended in fifth place, while Torrance was fourth at 255.40 points. (Yonhap)