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DPRK takes bronze in pairs figure skating

25 Feb 2017
Sapporo, Japan, February 25, 2017: DPR Korea achieved its modest target at the 8th Asian Winter Games in Sapporo on Saturday by winning its first medal. It was a bronze in the pairs figure skating for Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik, and put DPR Korea on the medals table on the penultimate day of competition. Before the AWG began, DPRK’s Chef de Mission, Sin Yon-guk, said it would be difficult to win a medal with only seven athletes in two sports – figure skating and short track speed skating.

So their target would be to match the performance in the 6th AWG in Kazakhstan in 2011, when Thae Won-hyok and Ri Ji-hyang won bronze in the same event – pairs figure skating. Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik took the bronze with 177.40 points, beating their previous best mark of 157.24 for a seventh - place finish at the ISU Four Continents Championships in 2016.

Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao of China ran away with the gold with 223.88 points, nearly 27 points better than the silver medal pair, Peng Cheng and Jin Yang of China. Kim said: “We are not 100 per cent happy with our performance but the scores were good enough to win the bronze.

“Even though we were not able to perform to our best, we were cheered on by a lot of supporters, so we thank them for their encouragement. Overall we have learned a lot from this competition and this experience.”

They said the Sapporo Asian Winter Games was good preparation for the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki, Finland, next month. “We learned some lessons and we will try our best for a higher score,” said Kim, 24. They practise for three hours a day on the ice and four hours off the ice, and 18-year-old Ryom, who is 1.51m and weighs only 37kg, said their aim was to reach the top level in the world. 
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