Sat, Feb 09, 2019 - Page 8 News List

Olympics chief to meet with Koreas on unified teams

AFP, LAUSANNE, Switzerland

The sports ministers of North and South Korea are to meet with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach with a view to fielding unified teams at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, the committee said on Thursday.

The move comes after the two Koreas marched under a joint flag at last year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games, where they also fielded a unified women’s ice hockey team.

The team sparked a media sensation, despite losing all five of their matches by a combined scoreline of 28-2.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) last month described the collaboration as a positive example of sport acting as a catalyst for peace and said that it would pursue the initiative with “a unified Korean hockey team for future FIH events, potentially for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”

Bach said that after the “success of the Pyeongchang 2018 Games” that a meeting would take place on Friday next week at the committee’s headquarters in Lausanne between the respective players for a “working group to discuss future sporting cooperation.”

The objective was to not only form joint ventures for the Olympics, but also in the qualifying phases, he told reporters.

The past 12 months have seen a series of joint Korean sides follow in the tracks of the ice hockey project, including in judo and basketball.

A men’s handball team lost all but one of its matches at the world championships last month, but a women’s dragon boat squad won Asian Games gold in the 500m last year.

A women’s table tennis team also reached the world championship semi-finals.

Pyongyang and Seoul have announced plans for a joint bid to host the 2032 Summer Games.

The two countries technically remain at war after they fought each other to a standstill in the 1950 to 1953 Korean War.

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