The Korean people hold dear the flag of their country.
The following is an example of why they say with pride that the Republic, where all of them lead a genuine happy life and to which they entrust their destiny, is the embrace of the benevolent socialist country.
The Korean Sports Association of the Persons with Disabilities was founded on August 10, 2011. Ri Pun Hui, who is People’s Athlete and enjoyed high reputation in the world of table tennis in her period of youth, works as its secretary general.
It is easier said than done for persons with disabilities to do sporting activities.
However, they are realizing their dreams and hopes in several sports events including table tennis, badminton, cross-country skiing, swimming and marathon.
They cannot help suspecting the officials and coaches of the association who visited them to inform them of the state policy for protecting persons with disabilities, adding that they can also compete in international games if they receive special training and make strenuous efforts.
Can I really become an athlete?
Is it possible for me to play badminton?
Can I have national flag hoisted by winning a gold medal?
Officials and coaches of the association explained in detail to those who thought what they had been told were unbelievable. This helped them cherish their respective dreams and receive special training at the association.
When Kim Yong Rok proved successful in an international table-tennis competition with his racket fixed to the part of his impediment, a coach from a foreign country who saw his confident manner visited the Korean player on purpose to ask him about the occupations of his parents.
Recollecting those days, Ri Pun Hui said, “I understood the mind of the foreign coach who must have thought that Kim was supported by fabulous wealth and power as he had competed in a world match with his two amputated hands. I stood there with a lump in my throat.”
The foreigner could not find any words as Kim replied that he was bereaved of his father and his mother was a pensioner.
Jon Ju Hyon, who attended the team competition together with Kim, said that he had grown up as a table-tennis player by receiving a systematic education from his childhood, that when he had received the diagnosis of generalized spondylitis, he had been driven to despair, and that the state helped him realize his dream and hope.
His eyes were filled with tears when he said about many persons, including officials and coaches of the association who had endeavoured to alleviate his pain and take warm care of him, leading him to the training ground and pooling their wisdom and efforts for him.
Thanks to their warm care and embrace, Ma Yu Chol, a person with disabilities, is now the first coach among the persons with disabilities, and Sim Sung Hyok, Pak Kum Jin and other sportspeople with disabilities had the red flag of their country hoisted at international competitions.
They said in unison that they live in the embrace of the Republic which brings the dreams of all the people into brilliant reality, under the blue and red national flag.