(ATR) Seung Min Ryu says he wants to lead the International Table Tennis Federation one day.
Ryu, a gold medalist at the 2004 Olympics, was elected Monday to the ITTF Executive Committee at the annual general meeting for the federation in Budapest, site of the 2019 world championships.
Seung Min Ryu was elected to an IOC membership in 2016. (Getty Images)
Ryu, 36, has been an IOC member since 2016 when he was elected to the IOC Athletes Commission, a position that includes an eight-year term on the IOC.
"I am looking forward to serving as the bridge between the ITTF and the Korea Table Tennis Association," Ryu is quoted by Yonhap News Agency.
"I think there will be so much more I can do to help Korean table tennis."
Ryu said he is looking forward to the 2020 world championships taking place in Busan. He says he will try to bring together athletes from North and South Korea for the tournament.
"It'll mean a great deal to have the unified Korean team at the world championships in South Korea," Ryu is quoted. He says has been speaking about the possibility with ITTF President Thomas Weikert. Ryu says Weikert will cooperate.
Now that he’s a member of the ITTF leadership, Ryu says he has set a goal of becoming the federation president.
"I used to think it'd be difficult to do it. But now that I've become an IOC member and also made the executive committee at the ITTF, I am more confident I can do it,” Yonhap
Ryu credits Yang Ho Cho with providing the inspiration to seek the post. Cho died earlier this month from a lung disease. The 70-year-old was the chairman of the Hanjin Group, the company that owns Korean Air.
Cho was president of the Korean Table Tennis Association and led the bid from PyeongChang for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
"When I was about to retire from table tennis, Chairman Cho offered me a lot of support, so I could become an IOC member," Ryu said.
"He kept telling me to shoot for the presidency at the ITTF, and thanks to him, I started to believe it could be possible,” Yonhap
Reported by Ed Hula.
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