Unified North, South Korea TT team lose

Blanche Robertson
May 7, 2018

The decision for the unified team was a tripartite one between the leaders of the North and South Korean Table Tennis teams and the ITTF.

This will be the first match as "Team Korea" in women's table tennis since 1991, when the unified players clinched the World Championships in Japan.

Before the quarterfinal clash, the two teams informed the umpires that they did not wish to compete against each other and preferred to make a united appearance.

Ryu Seung-min, the vice-president of the South Korean Table Tennis Federation and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), praised the ITTF for its spontaneous decision.

Al Mohannadi said in a press statement yesterday that the Qatar Football Federation took this step in 2011 during the Sports and Peace Championship, in which the two Koreas met together, India with Pakistan and America with Russia, and was a great success.

"We didn't know what was going to happen, and even during our meeting, we didn't have high expectations", Ryu said.

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Table tennis also has a history in diplomacy.

The team bounced back in their fourth game against Bulgaria as they recorded their third win with 3-0 to boost their chance of qualifying for the next round.

Teams from the 2 nations were due to meet in the quarter-finals on Thursday. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in promised last week to work toward the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula. The North Koreans are Cha Hyo-sim, Choe Hyon-hwa, Kim Nam-hae and Kim Song-i. In the final match, Japan's Miu Hirano dispensed with South Korea's Yang Haeun 11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6.

Weikert said, who added there was no external pressure to combine the Korean teams and the ITTF has informed the International Olympic Committee of the news.

Talks for joint Korean teams at the Asian Games gained traction last week following the inter-Korean summit.

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