By Lee Kyoung Mi and Hahm Hee-eun
North Korea will send a team of athletes to the Korea Open Table Tennis Tournament in Daejeon from July 17 to 22, and a team to the 52nd International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championships to be held in Changwon in August.
The two Koreas held working-level talks on inter-Korean sport exchanges at the Pyongyang Koryo Hotel on the night of July 5 and agreed to send the North Korean athletes to the table tennis and shooting tournaments. The meeting was held at the request of North Korea after the recent inter-Korean basketball tournament.
Second Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Roh Tae-kang held a press briefing in Pyeongyang on July 6 and announced that, “Twenty-five North Korean delegates for the Korea Open Table Tennis Tournament, including eight male athletes and eight female athletes, as well as coaches and support staff, will arrive at Incheon International Airport on July 15.”
Also during the working-level talks, the size and schedule of the North Korean teams for the ISSF World Championships in Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do, were decided. Twenty-one North Korean athletes will arrive at Gimhae Airport on Aug. 31 and depart on Sept. 15. North Korean delegates have not yet officially notified the International Shooting Sport Federation.
The two Koreas also discussed prospects for a unified team at the Asian Games that will take place in Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia later this year. The Korea Sports and Olympic Committee of South Korea and the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of North Korea agreed to discuss this, as well as the list of South Korean players that has already been delivered. The delegates from South Korea asked the delegates from North Korea for a joint training session as soon as possible, and they agreed to send North Korean athletes to South Korea for rowing and canoeing training. Training at the Taedong River will be difficult, since rowing and canoeing are not the main sports for North Korea. Meanwhile, a unified basketball game hosted by South Korea is planned for fall.