South Korean divers Kim Su-ji and Yi Jae-gyeong have captured a bronze medal in a synchronized event at the ongoing world championships in Qatar.
Kim and Yi scored 285.03 points to finish third in the mixed 3-meter synchronized event at the World Aquatics Championships at Hamad Aquatic Centre in Doha on Saturday (local time).
Maddison Keeney and Domonic Bedggood of Australia won the gold medal with 300.93 points, and Chiara Pellacani and Matteo Santoro of Italy earned the silver medal with 287.49 points.
This was Kim’s third career world championships medal. She became just the second South Korean athlete with three medals at the World Aquatics Championships, joining freestyle swimmer Park Tae-hwan.
Kim and Park are also the only South Korean athletes to win multiple medals at a single world championship. Park won the gold in the 400m freestyle and bronze in the 200m freestyle at the 2007 competition.
Kim won her first medal in the women’s 1m springboard at the 2019 competition in the South Korean city
of Gwangju. Then in Doha on Friday, Kim captured bronze in the women’s 3m springboard.
Kim made even more history with Yi, as they became the first South Korean diving duo to win a synchronized medal at a world championship. They had ranked fourth in the same synchronized event at last year’s worlds in Fukuoka, Japan.
Kim and Yi were tied for second after the first of their five dives in the final, but dropped to a tie for fourth place after their next dive.
The two jumped to third place after their fourth dive, as they earned 64.80 points with the backward 2 1/2 somersaults dive.
And Kim and Yi finished in third place after scoring 63 points in their final dive. Ross Haslam and Grace Reid of Britain, who had been in second place after four dives, managed just 52.08 points in their final dive to finish in fourth place, 6.75 points behind the South Koreans.
In the weeks leading up to the world championships, Kim and Yi each concentrated more on women’s and men’s 3m springboard, as they sought to earn an O
lympic berth in those events. The mixed 3m synchronized event, which is not an Olympic competition, took a backseat.
However, the two didn’t need much time together to get on the same page. They took up diving while attending the same elementary school and also graduated from the same high school, with Kim being one year older. They have been training together for more than a decade.
“We were able to earn such a good result today because of all the time we’ve spent training together,” Kim said, in a video interview released by the South Korean PR firm All That Sports.
Yi added, “I am so happy that I feel like I could fly.”
Kim suffered a torn cartilage in her left knee in December last year but the injury didn’t keep her from winning two medals in less than 24 hours.
“I’ve dealt with a lot of injuries,” Kim said. “I am really happy it all worked out well in the end.”
Both Kim and Yi booked their tickets to Paris in their respective 3m spring board events. Kim will compete in her third Olympics, while Yi
will make his Summer Games debut.
“I still have so much work to do with my entry,” Kim said. “I will address those issues before the Olympics.”
On preparing for his first Olympics, Yi said, “I will focus on adding strength and increasing the degree of difficulty for my program.”
Source: Yonhap News Agency