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(LEAD) (Olympics) Weightlifter Rim Jong-sim wins N. Korea's 1st gold in Rio

All Headlines 06:24 August 13, 2016

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By Yoo Jee-ho

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 12 (Yonhap) -- Weightlifter Rim Jong-sim claimed North Korea's first gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics Friday.

Rim won the women's 75kg class with a total of 274kg -- with 121kg in snatch and 153kg in clean and jerk.

Darya Naumava of Belarus was a distant second with 258kg total, followed by Lidia Valentin Perez of Spain with 257kg.

In 2012, Rim won the Olympic gold in the 69kg class. She is only the second North Korean athlete, after freestyle wrestler Kim Il, to win two Olympic gold medals.

Prior to Rim's victory, North Korea had won two silver and two bronze medals.

Rim said she didn't feel any pressure to deliver the country's first gold medal in Rio.

"There was no stress. I just tried really hard," she said. "I was really overwhelmed with happiness that I won this gold medal so I can send this honor to my leader (Kim Jong-un)."

North Korean athletes often dedicate their victories to Kim, who is known as a sports enthusiast.

Rim said she was devastated when her teammate Om Yun-chol, a gold medal favorite in the men's 56kg, came away only with silver, and that she wanted to get it done for her country on this night.

"I came into the arena determined to bring joy to our dear leader, Kim Jong-un, and I was so happy when I did that," she added. "Honestly, it hasn't been an easy road to the gold medal. There were times when I couldn't get up because of exhaustion. But I've endured hard training, believing it would get me closer to the gold medal."

Rim also praised the North Korean sports facilities and training environment.

"North Korea is where you can blossom into a star," she said. "There are a lot of great training facilities. Anyone who has talent can make it."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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