On March 19 this year, the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK issued a decree on awarding Order of the National Flag 2nd Class to Jon Ju Hyon, table-tennis player of the Korean Sports Association of the Disabled.
Receiving heartfelt congratulations from many, Jon said he fulfilled his childhood dream.
In his boyhood, he met with an accident and became unable to walk and was later diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis.
It was tantamount to a death sentence to the boy who had been dreaming of becoming a sports star.
He would enviously look out at his frolicking fellows and became reluctant to meet visiting chaps.
And then one day a ray of hope shone on the crippled and frustrated boy.
Officials of the Korean Sports Association of the Disabled extended a warm helping hand to Jon lest he should abandon his dream.
They devoted sincere efforts to the medical treatment for him and his recuperation, coached him and looked after him as carefully as his own parents and sisters would do.
“They shared all woes and pains with me at all times, when I was sick, sweated in training and felt depressed for failure,” Jon recalled.
Their warm care, great encouragement and exact demand helped him go beyond the extreme limits.
Thanks to their assistance, he came third in the singles event (TT6) at the Second Asian Paralympics held in October 2014.
“Ju Hyon is a gifted player. He is perfect in defence. If his health had not deteriorated, he would have unfolded stirring scenes at subsequent international games,” said coach Son Sol Hwa.
Once defeated, the weak only lament looking back, but the strong rise to their feet looking ahead.
“My willpower was given by those who cared for me so much and gave me a push to success. I wanted to fly our national flag on the international arena,” said Jon.
After emerging winner in the fight against the relapse, he came first in the team event (TT6-TT7) and third in the singles (TT6) at the ITTF Asian Para Championships held in Chinese Taipei in July 2019 and won the team event (TT6-TT7) and the singles (TT6) at the ITTF Para Table Tennis Bangkok Open in Thailand in August the same year.
Now the man in his 20s cherishes a bigger dream to notch up greater success.