วันอาทิตย์ที่ 23 สิงหาคม พ.ศ. 2552
KAL Cup Korea Open
A most welcome entrant at the KAL Korean Open in Seoul is the group of players from Africa’s Democratic Republic of Congo.
Three male players are present – Beni Lukatikisu, Djodjo Nkunda Baluengele, Jonathan Bizaku – all are young players, having competed in the Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles and Under 21 Men’s Singles events.
Life has been tough in the playing arena in a country steeped in table tennis excellence but undoubtedly they have learnt from the Korean experience.
“I was very surprised when we received an entry from the Democratic Republic of Congo”, said Do Cheon Park, a member of the Organising Committee at the KAL Korean Open and also a member of the ITTF Board of Directors.
“They arrived at the very last moment, in fact one day late”, reflected Do Cheon Park. “It took them six days for them to get here; they left Kinshasa and flew to Bangkok where they stayed three days, they had visa problems.”
However, eventually, they arrived.
“When we heard of the troubles they had experienced, the media soon became interested”, continued Do Cheon Park. “They made a great effort to travel to Seoul, so on the instructions of Cho Yang Ho, the President of the Korean Table Tennis Association, I am delighted be able to offer our guests from Kinshasa and extra two days in Seoul.”
Cho Yang Ho is the President of Korea Air, the sponsors of the ITTF Pro Tour tournament in Seoul.
Training with Koreans
“The level of their play is not that of Asian players but they are eager, they are motivated and they want to improve”, concluded Do Cheon Park. “Therefore, when the tournament finishes, they will have the opportunity to practise with Korean players.”
Sport is about competition but it is also a vehicle for peace, harmony and friendship; a fact clearly being demonstrated by the Korean Table Tennis Association.
It is a fine gesture.