S. Korea triumph over North - at table tennis

South Korea felt duty-bound to defeat North Korea in Olympic Games table tennis Saturday, but admitted they were still none the wiser to solving the mystery of their secretive neighbours.

"We are the same people and we speak the same language but politically we're not very friendly at the moment," said South Korea coach Yoo Nam-Kyu.

"Due to our history we felt we had to beat North Korea, we felt we had to win because we were playing them."

North and South Korea are technically still at war after the 1950-53 conflict and any sporting occasion, pitting the one against the other, always attracts attention, cranking up the pressure on the athletes involved.

But Yoo was unsure who was under the greater pressure to succeed.

"As far as I know they will have more pressure and get more stressed because they lost and people will hear about their defeat," he said.

"Our record is much better than the North, so if we'd lost it would have been much more pressure and stress for our side. But we won because we're better."

Although the two countries do not enjoy good relations on a political level, Ryu Seung-Min, who beat Kim Hyuok-Bong to seal the 3-1 victory, said the players themselves get on well.

"It's not bad, we always say hello because we speak the same language and like us they have also been playing for a long time," he said.

"We always see them at tournaments, so there's no problem. Table tennis is special because last November we had the Peace and Sports Cup invitation matches and Kim Hyok-Bong played with me in the doubles in Qatar.

"I had a good partner. We always have good relationships and good friendship but on court we are at war, we have a table tennis war."

Yoo said the two teams are on friendly terms and speak to each other around the Olympic Village, although there is one subject that never comes up.

"We ask how they are and we just talk about every day life, not political life," he admitted.

"We just say how are you and talk about sports and general things."

But that doesn't extend to a close relationship.

"They haven't told me anything, I don't know about their lives or anything. We just shake hands say a greeting and how are you," added Ryu.

They didn't discuss the match with the media either, opting to push through the press conference zone, straight to the exit door.

South Korea's Oh Sang-Eun had lost to Kim Hyok-Bong in the opening match but Joo Sae-Hyuk levelled the scores after beating Jang Song-Man.

Oh teamed up with Ryu to beat Jang and Kim Song-Nam in the doubles before Ryu scored the winning point in the singles.

South Korea were the favourites, but Yoo said his team's more illustrious standing in the sport had increased the pressure on his team.

"I felt a lot of pressure playing against North Korea. We lost the first match but Joo Sae-Hyuk did very well," said the coach.

"He fought very hard to win so I was relieved after that."

South Korea will play Portugal, 3-0 winners over hosts Great Britain, in the quarter-finals.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Muslim group calls for universal peace
    Muslim group calls for universal peace

    As predominantly Catholic Philippines and the rest of the Christian world observe the Holy Week, peace advocates like the Young Muslim Professionals Network (YMPN) are appealing to Filipinos of various creeds and persuasion to embrace the universal message of kindness, love and peace. The group issued the call as peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front teeter due to the Mamasapano incident where members of the rebel group killed 44 police commandos on a …

  • Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage
    Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage

    A former World Bank official has warned of dire consequences for the Philippines if the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not passed into law. Nigel Roberts, former director on conflict, security and development, said that more conflict could occur without the BBL. “It takes about 15 years to get back to pre-conflict GDP growth rates, and 20 years for trade to recover,” Roberts said in his blog at the World Bank website. The World Bank estimated that economic losses amounted to $10 …

  • Despite typhoon, summer is here
    Despite typhoon, summer is here

    Super Typhoon Chedeng roared toward Luzon as the weather bureau announced the official start of summer in the country yesterday. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced yesterday the official start of the dry or summer season in the country due to the termination of the cold northeast monsoon. “The general public is advised to take precautionary measures to minimize heat stress and take note of the need in optimizing the daily use of …

  • Noy told: Just answer the questions
    Noy told: Just answer the questions

    Just answer the 20 questions. The Makabayan bloc of seven party-list representatives made this appeal to President Aquino yesterday after his spokesman claimed the Chief Executive has already answered most of the questions posed by the militant lawmakers regarding the Mamasapano incident. For instance, he said the President has not yet explained why he allowed then suspended Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima to take the lead in Oplan Exodus or the mission to …

  • DFA: Malaysia paying rent for Sabah
    DFA: Malaysia paying rent for Sabah

    Malaysia does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah but the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) maintained yesterday that the Malaysian government is paying rent for Sabah, indicating it rightfully belongs to the Philippines. The Malay Mail Online reported that Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Malaysia has not and does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah when asked by media about the reported offer of the Philippine government to downgrade its Sabah …

  • 63 OFWs returning from Yemen
    63 OFWs returning from Yemen

    Sixty-three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are set to return home from war-torn Yemen, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday. Baldoz said the licensed recruiters of the OFWs have assured the government of their immediate repatriation. Administrator Hans Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has ordered the recruitment agencies to fulfill their obligation to bring home the OFWs. Baldoz called on Filipinos still in Yemen to avail themselves of the government’s …

  • Jinggoy gets furlough for shoulder checkup
    Jinggoy gets furlough for shoulder checkup

    Despite opposition from ombudsman lawyers, the Sandiganbayan yesterday granted detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s request to undergo a medical checkup at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital. Estrada was allowed to undergo a medical examination for pain in his left shoulder from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The senator was ordered to shoulder the expenses incurred by the Philippine National Police in  escorting him. In a pleading filed Monday with the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division, Estrada’s lawyers …

  • Tekken’s Josie Rizal gets flak
    Tekken’s Josie Rizal gets flak

    A professor of the University of the Philippines yesterday hit the portrayal of a Filipino character, whose name was based on Jose Rizal, in a Japanese-produced video game. “(It’s) offensive and unsuited for a big company like Bandai because they have the money to do research,” Gonzalo Campoamor II, professor of Life and Works of Rizal in UP Diliman, told The STAR. Japanese giant Namco Bandai recently introduced Josie Rizal, the first Filipino character in the popular fighting game franchise …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options