The Kigwancha Sports Club in the DPRK enjoys great popularity among local people as well as sports enthusiasts.
Founded in January 1956, the club has produced numerous sports stars.
“It has established a reputation as one of the three leading clubs in the world of Korean sports since its very founding,” said Ro Chol Hyok, manager of the club, “which is inseparable from the achievements of sports personalities trained at the club.”
During the initial period of its development, the club’s volleyball players and athletes were continuously successful at the four-country friendship tournaments between 1957 and 1959. Especially, volleyball player Kim U Hyon and athletes Han Jang Duk and Kim Sol Gi completely stole the show.
The 1966 World Cup Finals in the UK was vividly etched in the memory of the Korean people.
The DPRK team advanced to the quarter-finals by defeating the Italians who were recognized as one of the strongest in the world and an odds-on favourite of the tournament.
Among the creators of the football miracle of Chollima Korea in the 1960s were Kim Pong Hwan, Ri Chan Myong and Yang Song Guk, footballers of the Kigwancha Sports Club.
Won Chol Ju, director of the training department, proudly said that People’s Athlete An Se Uk, who greatly contributed to the team’s victories in over 60 international football competitions for over 10 years since the late 1960s, was a seed player of the club.
The club was also very successful at international gymnastics tournaments.
Ri Chol Hon won a gold medal in the pommel horse event of the 9th Asian Games.
The International Gymnastic Federation, fascinated by his performance, named a move Ri executed for the first time at the 21st World Gymnastics Championships in 1981 the “Ri Chol Hon movement”.
Besides, the club trained such sports stars as Kim Ok Son who made a sudden rise in the Asian track-and-field athletics, Kim Chol who triumphed in a world wrestling all-star tournament and Paek Yong Nam who cut a conspicuous figure with powerful blows and quick moves at over 10 international boxing competitions.
Also recorded in the history of the club are famous weightlifters who were called “Hercules”.
Kim Myong Nam won a lot of medals at the 25th and 26th Olympic Games and several world weightlifting championships and renewed the world and Asian records for five times respectively.
Two-time Olympic gold winner and world champion Rim Jong Sim and Rim Un Sim who dominated in the world junior weightlifting were also trained at the club. They are very well known as the “Herculean sisters” to the local people.
The club’s players have so far collected over 1 100 medals including more than 410 golds at international events.