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Bangkok: DPR Korea’s Sung Hyang Sim was named the AFC Youth Player of the Year after her spectacular performance in the AFC Women’s U-19 Championship and AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 Qualifiers.

Sung fended off compatriot Kim Kyong-yong and Japan’s Hinata Miyazawa to be DPR Korea’s first woman AFC Youth Player Award winner.

The 18-year-old first donned the DPR Korea jersey in 2013 for the AFC U-14 Regional Championships where she featured from the group stages to the final. Sung scored a crucial goal against China PR in the final, to push the game into a penalty shootout.

Despite losing 6-5 on penalties to China, Sung was a star in the making, as she scored in every appearance.

Three months later, she would be called into the U-16 team, scoring three goals against Chinese Taipei to assist DPR Korea progress to the semi-final after topping Group B. They lost 6-5 on penalties to Japan, but she would return to the squad in 2015 seeking retribution.

She scored three goals in the group stages, to set up a meeting with Japan in the final once again. This time, DPR Korea prevailed to claim their second title.

In every tournament Sung has participated, she has shown improvement and in 2017, she joined the senior national team for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 Qualifiers.

Hosted in Pyongyang and backed by home fans, she stepped onto the field in what would be the most important game in Group B, a match-up with Korea Republic.

She opened the scoring in first half added-on time, but Korea Republic found their equaliser to end the match with a point each. Although she scored two more goals in their match against Uzbekistan, DPR Korea missed out on the Finals when they finished below Korea Republic on goal difference.

Japan prove to be Sung’s stumbling block again as she progressed into the U-19 side.

DPR Korea lost the final 1-0 but Sung’s performances had not gone unnoticed as she claimed the tournament’s top goalscorer and Most Valuable Player awards.

The AFC Youth Player of the Year award marks yet another achievement in her young football career, but this is only the beginning of more to come from Sung Hyang Sim.

Photo: AFC