Four-time World Judo Champion

Kye Sun Hui, famous judo player of the DPRK, became a national sports star several years after she started judo.

Kye achieved her Olympic gold medal by defeating a renowned Japanese player, a world champion, in the 48-kg class of the women’s judo event at the 26th Olympic Games in 1996.

Afterwards she placed first in the 52-kg class of the women’s event at the world judo championships held in 2001.

All the Korean people still vividly remember the girl in tears, looking up at the flag of the DPRK being hoisted.

Not resting on her laurels, she redoubled her efforts. She earned three world championships (2003, 2005, and 2007) in the women’s 57-kg class, and won consecutive victories in the international tournaments, thus bringing honour to the country.

With her playing career adorned as a celebrity judoist, Kye is now devoting herself to training judoists at the Moranbong Sports Club for which she played in her youth.

After a year of her coaching many of her trainees began to distinguish themselves at national tournaments. Among them is Jo Son Hyang, who won a gold medal at the 2015 Asian junior and juvenile judo championships.

Whenever she receives congratulations upon the successes her trainees have achieved, Kye looks back on her past.

During her days at the juvenile sports school she trained judo under the guidance of her instructor, and after retirement from playing she studied at the Korea University of Physical Education.

In high appreciation for her merits the country awarded her Kim Il Sung Prize, Labour Hero and People’s Athlete.

To repay the trust and care of the country Kye sheds her sweat in the training of players, never leaving the training ground and taking off the costume.

So, people find it hard to tell her, chief coach, and her trainees apart.

To win gold medal is her unchanged ambition.

Originally published on Naenara –