by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Ryu Seungmin is one of four new members to gain election at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Germany’s Britta Heidemann from Fencing gained election as did Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta from swimming in addition to Yelena Isinbayeva from the world of athletics.
Most certainly the election puts Ryu Seungmin in very good company; all for are Olympic Games gold medallists.
“A former Olympic Champion and player, who has visited all parts of the world he is an expert in table tennis; for our sport it is always important to be active in the highest body, the International Olympi Committee, to raise our specific questions in order to develop table tennis furthermore” Thomas Weikert, ITTF President
Britta Heidemann won Épée gold in 2008 in Beijing, Daniel Gyurta set a new World record and clinched gold in the 200 metres breastroke at the London 2012 Olympic Games whilst Yelena Isinbayeva was Pole Vault gold medallist in both Athens and Beijing.
Ryu Seungmin, adopting the traditional pen-hold grip style of player, in true traditional Korean style will always be regarded for the exciting and athletic manner in which he extolled his skills.
However, there is much more to Ryu Seungmin than just being truly outstanding athlete.
“To be elected to the Athletes omission of the International Table Tennis Federation is a great accomplishment for any athlete. I am really happy for Ryu Seungmin who has always been an excellent sportsmen and good friend. He will definitely do a great job. It is fantastic news for our sport.” Vladimir Samsonov, Chair ITTF Athletes Commission
In 2008 Sichuan, an area of China in which Ryu Seungmin had represented in the country’s Super League, was hit by an earthquake; generously Ryu Seungmin donated US$10,000 to the devastation fund.
Ryu Seungmin represents the best ideals of sport, always he gave 100 per cent effort, a man of high integrity and sincerity but it is not necessarily the extensive knowledge gained by ccompeting in the arenas of the world that makes him a most worthy member of any major organisation.
It is also his caring attitude and thought for fellow man.