Ri Hyang Ok used to play (number 19) for the North Korean national team as a midfielder/playmaker. She participated in two FIFA World Cups (1999 and 2003) and two AFC Asian Cups (2001 and 2003), where she became Asian champion with North Korea.
Ri Hyang Ok is the only player in the North Korean team who played all 90 minutes in all their World Cup matches. In the last match of her career, Hyang Ok scored two goals. It was the game for third place in the missed Olympic qualification 2004. North Korea eventually won 5-1 against the South Koreans, but the result was not enough and Japan qualified to the Olympic Games. That changed the course of her career: the dream of Athens 2004 has been burst, Ri Hyang Ok, as a number of other North Korean players retired. She started to learn English at the Pyongyang University of Foreign Languages and is now one of the four FIFA referees from North Korea, being selected for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada.
Her former team-mate, Re Mi Ae, said about the midfielder to be the "beauty of their team" and that all men were crazy about her. A year later, she got married with a functionary in the sports sector. Ri still remembers that her desire to be a footballer was met by massive resistance from her parents. Today, they apologized for it and Hyang Ok is proud that she has embarked on a very successful pathway.
Source: Hana, Dul, Sed