Kim Chun Hui, a weightlifting coach of the Kigwancha Sports Club as well as a national coach, is widely known among professionals and amateurs for producing many world-famous women weightlifters.
Most of women weightlifters who rose to worldwide fame in the 2010s, including Rim Jong Sim, twice Olympic gold-medal winner and world champion, were coached by her.
Kim Chun Hui was born in August 1977 as the third daughter of an ordinary white-collar worker in Mangyongdae District, Pyongyang.
She was very fond of sports since her girlhood, so she played speed-skating in her primary school days and then track and field at the Central Physical Training College.
When she was 15, she was advised to shift to weightlifting by an instructor who perceived that she had a suitable constitution for weightlifting.
At that time, the women’s weightlifting event was in its early days of development in the DPRK, so she readily accepted the proposal.
However, her parents were very reluctant to agree with her, trying to persuade her that weightlifting is a sport for manhood. She was adamant about her decision and, without their approval, she began weightlifting.
When she was studying at Korea University of Physical Education, she won a gold medal in the women’s weightlifting event of the national university student games. Only after that, her parents gave their approval.
After graduating from the university, she became an instructor at a juvenile sports school in Pyongyang. Since then she visited every school and even playground to observe children and select reserve weightlifters.
Her first choice was Rim Jong Sim, and afterwards she selected Ryo Un Hui, Rim Un Sim, Kim Un Ju and other reserves.
While training the girls, she read avidly materials of sports science and technology, steadily studied various training methods and techniques and applied them to the players as suited to their ages.
Her coaching ability was demonstrated when Rim Jong Sim took the first place in overall standing in the women’s 48kg category of the Mangyongdae Prize Games in 2008.
Since she became a weightlifting coach of the Kigwancha Sports Club in December 2008, she intensified her guidance on the training.
Her efforts paid off: Rim Jong Sim finished runner-up in the total rankings in the women’s 58kg category of the world juvenile weightlifting championships held in Thailand in May 2009. Later, she won gold medals in the women’s 69kg category of the 30th Olympic Games held in Great Britain in July 2012, and in the 75kg category of the 31st Olympic Games held in Brazil in 2016 respectively, thus becoming a twice Olympic gold-medal winner.
Not only Rim but also Ryo Un Hui, Rim Un Sim, Kim Un Ju, Kim Su Ryon, Choe Hyo Sim, Pak Jin Hae and other women weightlifters selected and trained by her produced good results at international competitions.
She employs several methods in training, such as selecting reserve players with suitable constitutions and introducing scientific training methods, but her first priority is to inspire players to give full play to their spiritual strength, and she always demands her weightlifters to lift barbells by dint of their spiritual power before relying on their physical strength and techniques.
Under her training, women weightlifters cultivated their spiritual strength and demonstrated it fully in competitions. During the 2015 world weightlifting championships Rim Jong Sim was hurt midway through the game, but continued to play to the last with dogged determination, striking the audience with admiration.
She is a stern coach in training, but shows deep concern for the players like their mothers would do. She pays attention to providing them with meals and nutritious foods as suited to their physical constitutions as well as adequate conditions for relaxation. Her tender care is another dynamic force that inspires players for a higher goals.
It was in 2012 that Kim Chun Hui was first nominated as top ten coaches of the DPRK, and she was named coach of the year on several occasions.
She insists the player is a diamond and the coach a jeweller.
She is now a winner of Kim Il Sung Prize, Labour Hero and People’s Athlete.
She is married to Im Yong Su, People’s Athlete and also a weightlifting coach at the same club. He is her close colleague, and they help each other in work. They have two sons.