It was not to be a gold medal but for the Korean Men’s Team the goal at the London 2012 Olympic Games was very much achieved.
The three matches to nil victory over Singapore at the semi-final stage, in effect, secured the silver medal.
Anything less would have been a disappointment; anything more would have been a massive bonus.
Furthermore, it was one step higher than had been achieved in Beijing four years earlier when the bronze medal had been secured. Realistically for the trio of Joo Saehyuk, Oh Sangeun and Ryu Seunmin, it was mission accomplished in London.
Evident at End of Match The fact that was very evident when the China applied the final blow.
There were no Korean heads bowed in heartache and disappointment; it was congratulations all round as the six players and two coaches linked arms.
Injury and Illness A success for Korea and arguably a greater success than realized at the time; an injury experienced by Ryu Seungmin and illness suffered by Joo Saehyuk had not been made public knowledge.
Ryu Seungmin Ryu Seungmin had ligament injuries in his right shoulder and left knee.
Doctors had recommended surgery but in order to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games, the 2004 Olympic champion had elected for rehabilitation treatment.
Joo Saehyuk Similarly, Joo Saehyuk had been receiving treatment for phlegmon cellulitis, more usually referred to as diffuse phlegmon; inflammation is a symptom.
However, Joo Saehyuk was not responding to the treatment; later the illness was diagnosed as Behcet’s Disease, a type of skin disorder.
Throughout the Olympic Games, Joo Saehyuk played suffering pain from the illness.
The Last Appearance It was a hard earned silver medal and it is unquestionably the last we will see of Joo Saehyuk, Oh Sangeun and Ryu Seungmin as a team. Ryu Seungmin has made it clear; he will not be in Rio de Janeiro four years hence.
No Regrets "I have no regrets; everyone in the team tried so hard and we really earned this silver," he said. "Now I want to help younger players develop so they can win gold medals in future Olympics."
There are exciting names waiting in the wings; Kim Minseok and Seo Hyundeok were both present in London in a reserve capacity and no doubt they are high on the agenda for Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
Thanks for the Memory However, that is for the future and if London was the last appearance on the Olympic stage by Ryu Seunmin; thanks for the memory of the Galatsi Stadium in Athens on Monday 23rd August 2004.
“Gold medallist and Olympic champion, from Korea, Ryu Seungmin”, immortal words.