By Yoo Jee-ho
GWANGJU, July 18 (Yonhap) -- Just a couple of points, and South Korean diver Kim Su-ji could have kept her Olympic hopes alive Thursday.
Instead, she was reduced to tears of disappointment, knowing she was far from 100 percent on the 3m springboard at the FINA World Championships.
Kim finished 21st in the 3m springboard preliminary at Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center. The top 18 moved on to the semifinals scheduled for later Thursday, and the top 12 from there will reach Friday's final and also lock down berths for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
With 256.95 points, Kim ended only 1.65 points back of the 18th-ranked Viktoriya Kesar of Ukraine.
"I didn't even show half of what I'd prepared," Kim said, wiping away tears. "I am not pleased with my performance today."
Kim was tied for fifth with an opening dive of 63 points. But she only scored 35.65 points in her next dive to fall all the way to 30th place, and Kim had to play catch up the rest of the day. Even her final dive of 63 points wasn't enough to get her inside the top 18.
A lot had been expected of Kim after she won a surprise bronze medal in the 1m springboard Saturday. She made her Olympic debut in London in 2012 as a 14-year-old, but she didn't survive the national team trials for the next Olympics in 2016.
Kim will still have a chance to qualify for Tokyo 2020 at next year's FINA Diving World Cup. The top 18 divers will earn their Olympic spots.
"Even though I did so poorly, I didn't miss the semifinals by much," Kim said. "I know I have more opportunities. I believe I'll do much better at the World Cup."