Monday 15 June 2015

Korean National Coach Bringing Olympic Champion Spirit: Interview with Ryu Seung Min

I had the pleasure of interviewing 2004 Olympic Champion, Ryu Seung Min about his memories from Athens and his new role as National Coach of the Korean Team as well as some brief opinions about the current state and future of penhold in the sport of table tennis. Thank you Seung Min!
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Name: Ryu Seung Min
Date of Birth: 05 August 1982
Nation Represented: Korea
Highest World Ranking: 2

2004 Olympic Champion, Ryu Seung Min
image from
Equipment Used:
FH Rubber: Bty Tenergy 05
Blade: Bty Ryu Seung Min G-Max

When and how did you start playing table tennis? Who was the biggest influence on you to begin playing?

When I was 8 years old my cousin had a ping pong club, after class every day I would go there. My parents were my biggest motivation to play.

What was the highlight of your table tennis career?

My highlight is of course the 2004 Olympic Games.

You became the 2nd Korean male to win the table tennis gold medal at the Olympic Games, describe you memories of Athens 2004, particularly the final match.

The final against Wang Hao, actually the final point is my best memory from my career.

You won various medals at the Asian Games, World Championships and World Cup but never a singles gold, was this a big goal of yours in your career?

Yes, these were always big goals in my career.

Do you have any regrets looking back on your playing career?

Nothing special stands out as a regret for me.

Many people (including myself) would say you had the best footwork in the world during your prime. What did you do to help make your footwork so strong?

For the Korean style of table tennis, of course also penhold, it is very important to keep your feet moving. Many times in practice the key focus was on movement and footwork, it is very important.

How do you feel about the future of penhold in the sport?

I think it is positive, but many players are afraid that there can be no success with penhold and that is the reason perhaps nobody want to try now.

You spent time representing Ochsenhausen in the German league. How did you enjoy the team and matches there? Do you feel the German league is one of the strongest in the world?

So I have very good memories in Ochsenhausen, everything is perfect. My team mates and my lifestyle is very good. My opinion is the bundesliga is very professional.

Now that you have become Korean National Coach, what are your goals for the Korean Team?

The main goal is for the Korean National Team to take a gold medal again in some big events, Olympics, World Championships, World Cup.

Were you satisfied with the performance of the Korean players in the recent World Championships in Suzhou?

In Suzhou I was 70% satisfied with the way team Korea performed.

What is the biggest thing which Korea can improve in order to become more competitive with China?

In order to beat China's players we need to have a very strong mental focus and so we must improve this a lot.

Fun Questions:

What is your favourite:
Sport other than Table Tennis: Golf and Billiards
Sportsperson: Christiano Ronaldo
Food: Korean BBQ
Car: Mercedes
Holiday Destination: Switzerland

If you could restart your table tennis career, what style would you choose?

Left handed, shakehand attacker.

You have an amazing new family with 2 children now, what is your favourite thing to do with your family?

With my family especially with my two sons, every time is very special and we are very happy.

Wishing you all the best in your new role as national team coach and hope for success for Korea in the future :)

Thank you.

Want to read more great interviews with other former World Champions, Cup Winners and Number 1's? Click for MORE INTERVIEWS.


  1. I am surprised, and also wonder why he wanted to be a left handed, shakehand attacker...

    I also wonder if he would train some more penholder in Korea...

  2. He's got the best footwork of all times among all pro table tennis players. I used to love watching him playing table tennis...


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