News / Asia

N. Korea to Participate in Incheon Asia Paralympics

North Korea will send nine athletes to this year’s Asian Para Games to be held in South Korea.

The 2014 Incheon Asian Game Organizing Committee says that Pyongyang made the announcement in a letter sent on Wednesday.

This will mark the first time North Korean athletes are participating at an Asian Para Games.

The Asian Paralympics games are scheduled for October 18-24 in the port city of Incheon.  It follows the 17th Asian Games, which start later this month  in Incheon.  North Korea is also sending athletes to that event.  

A South Korean government official sais in an interview with VOA Korean service that the latest decision shows the North's efforts to project itself as a normal nation to the international community.

The South Korean official added it will fine-tune the details of the delegation’s transportation and accommodation with North Korean authorities.

The Pyongyang delegation will consist of around 30 people, including the athletes participating in swimming, table tennis, archery and track and field competitions.

The chief of North Korea’s disabled athletes association, Li Bun-hui, will lead the delegation.  Li’s trip is gaining much media attention in the South, as she is a former ping pong athlete who played with Hyun Jung-hwa, a star player from the South.  The duo played in a unified Korea team at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championship in Japan and scored a victory against the Chinese team.

The president of the Incheon Asian Para Games, Kim Sung-il, said he hopes the North’s participation will serve as a turning point for the inter-Korean relationship.

The North became a member of the International Paralympic Committee last November.

Jee Abbey Lee contributed to this report, which was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.


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