South Korean diver Kim Su-ji became a household name on Sunday at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championship by winning a bronze medal in the women's 1-meter springboard.
She is the first-ever South Korean diver to reach the podium at the international swimming competition.
The eighteen-year-old diver says her medal-winning efforts came as a surprise even to her.
"Before I first dove, I didn't think I would win a medal at all. But, the results turned out to be much better than I had expected. So, my coach told me there was hope in the final round, but I thought of it as a joke. But, I'm really satisfied that I got such a great result."
Kim dove into the water as many as 200 times a day, in the lead-up to her historic five dives in the final rounds of 1-meter springboard.
Her monumental achievement was in the 1-meter event which is not an official Olympic event.
"I personally consider the 3-meter springboard individual event to be the most important competition for me. It's the official Olympic event so I paid more attention to this.
One-meter is quite low and there's limited number of turns a diver can make. But for 3-meters, it's higher, meaning there's more space to make turns and more difficult moves."
Kim was only 14 years old when she made her Olympic debut in 2012 at London
but didn't make it to national team for the next Summer Olympics in 2016. And now she's eyeing for her next Olympic chance.
"I still have remaining competitions here in Gwangju so I will focus on those and if I do get to participate in the Olympics there's many more places for me to climb up to. I will put more efforts to achieve those goals. I was told to have a big dream, so I m hoping for a good result in the Olympics."
Kim will compete in the mixed 3-meter synchro springboard final on Saturday.
Lee Min-sun Arirang News, Gwangju.