South Korea Defeats North Korea in Tense Table Tennis Match
We are currently at day eight of the London 2012 Summer Olympics. The latest medal count for the top ten performing countries are as follows:
China: 50 (23 Gold, 16 Silver, 11 Bronze)
United States: 49 (24 Gold, 11 Silver, 14 Bronze)
United Kingdom: 26 (11 Gold, 7 Silver, 8 Bronze)
Russia: 25 (3 Gold, 13 Silver, 9 Bronze)
France: 22 (8 Gold, 6 Silver, 8 Bronze)
Japan: 22 (2 Gold, 9 Silver, 11 Bronze)
Germany: 20 (5 Gold, 9 Silver, 6 Bronze)
Australia: 17 (1 Gold, 10 Silver, 6 Bronze)
South Korea: 16 (9 Gold, 2 Silver, 5 Bronze)
Italy: 13 (5 Gold, 5 Silver, 3 Bronze)
As you can see, South Korea has performed well thus far and is among the top ten performing nations. These Olympic Games have featured some truly epic, intense and breathtaking moments. No sequence of these 2012 Games has been more intense for South Korea than its riveting table tennis match against North Korea. A table tennis match between North Korea and South Korea is far more than just a simple game between two individuals – it is a politically charged showdown between two nations that share a hostile relationship. The two countries are technically at war.
South Korea’s Ryu Seung-min squared off against North Korea’s Kim Hyok-bong in this table tennis match for the ages. Yoo Nam Kyu, coach of South Korea’s men’s team, said, “I feel pressure playing against North Korea. We are the same people and we speak the same language, but politically we are not very friendly at the moment.” Ultimately, South Korea prevailed against its nemesis 3-1 in this first round match, a far closer outcome than was expected. South Korea is the tournament’s second seed, while North Korea is the 11th seed.
When discussing North Korea after the match concluded, Ryu said, “We have a good relationship and good friendship. But on the court we are at war, table tennis war.” Ryu and Hyok-bong did shake hands after match but there was minimal conversation or contact between players and coaches throughout. North Korea’s players and coaches declined to chat with the media after the match.
South Koreans are sure to be proud of the outcome of this match, which has been the most politically charged of these Olympic Games. However, the work does not end here for the South Korean team. The team has advanced to the quarterfinal where it will play Portugal.
Samantha Patterson is a freelance writer covering the 2012 Summer Olympics and web content provider for BabyChangingStation.com. Samantha has enjoyed covering these exciting Olympic Games thus far.