Nation’s First World Wrestling Champ


Kim Chol Hwan poses after winning an event at the 23rd world freestyle wrestling championships in October 1985.

Among the successful wrestlers of the DPRK, Kim Chol Hwan is the first world wrestling champion of the country.

He started learning the sport at the age of thirteen at Songyo District Juvenile Sports School and was later selected into the Pyongyang Sports Club and honed his skills.

His international debut at the Asian middle school students’ wrestling championships held in Iraq in October 1977 was an occasion for him to demonstrate his outstanding ability.

He won all the matches in the 36kg category.

After seeing his matches, experts admired his amazing agility, physical preparedness and remarkable skills and rated him as a promising player.

Kim produced impressive results in several international events and cut a conspicuous figure as a wrestling star.

He snatched golds in the 48kg category of the juvenile friendship international wrestling competition of socialist countries held in Bulgaria in August 1981, the international freestyle wrestling tournament in Hungary in March 1982 and others.

In those days, he promoted his competence as a wrestling champ possessed of various fortes.

In September 1983, the 22nd world freestyle wrestling championships were held in Kiev of the then USSR.

Nobody had paid attention to Kim Chol Hwan, but he thrashed all the opponents and stood on the podium against common expectations.

He did not rest on his laurels but trained harder. He clinched another world championship in the next event in Hungary in October 1985.

Later, he worked as a coach at the Pyongyang Sports Club devoting his energy to training future wrestlers.

His eldest son Kim Kuk Song is currently working as a coach at the sports club following in his footsteps.

Categories: History, Sports

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