The autumn sports tournament of aged persons took place at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium between September 25 and 28.
The competition was open to men above 60 and women above 55 and any amateurs who wanted to participate in it.
According to Jo Myong Guk, staffer of the Central Committee of the Korea Federation for the Care of the Aged who was one of the organizers of the tournament, the event drew more than 270 aged persons. Among them, over 200 took part in the badminton competition and over 170 applied for the table-tennis competition.
The badminton competition was held, divided into team and individual events.
The individual event was divided into categories of the aged and amateurs and the mixed category of the aged and amateurs, and the entrants played in men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. According to the principle of formation of each pair, a male pair had to be over 140 or 128 years when the ages of the two men were put together, a female pair over 127 and a mixed pair over 130 or 118. And there were also the doubles of aged married couples.
The amateur event was divided into singles of men above 43 years and under 42, doubles of men above 43 and under 42, doubles of women above 38 and under 37 and mixed doubles of each pair whose age was above 81 and under 80 in total.
Each pair had to be above 111 years in total in the mixed event of the aged and amateurs, under 110 in the men’s doubles and under 98 in the women’s doubles.
The table-tennis competition was also classified into team and individual events.
In the team event, a team was assembled with the administrative district as a unit involving three men in the 60-65 age group, two men in the 66-70 age group, a man above 71 and three women above 55 to form three men’s doubles pairs, a women’ doubles pair and a mixed doubles pair, and the ranking was decided according to the results of their games.
The individual event was divided into categories of each pair being above 144, above 134 and above 124 years in total.
Each match drew the gaze of spectators all the way.
Badminton and table-tennis require fast speed of the ball and no small physical burden. But aged players showed impressive scenes with amazing skills and kinesthetic sense as good as those of young people.
The spectators broke into applause whenever Ri Hyon Sok, a 70-year-old living in Sosong District, Pyongyang, and Kim Sung Ryol, a 73-year-old in Rangnang District in the city, scored a point with a strong cross.
Thrilling scenes also unfolded at the badminton competition.
Aged players put young people in the shade as they struck back the high ball flying to a corner of the court and nimbly hit back the ball falling near the net.
Expressing their surprise at the high level of playing of the elderly players, spectators said they came to realize through the games the meaning of “The older one gets, the more vigorous he becomes”.
The old players from Moranbong District beat those from Phyongchon District to win the badminton competition, and those from Mangyongdae District defeated those from Rangnang District 3-1 in the final of the table tennis event.