Published: Sun, January 21, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Pool Of 'Clean' Russian Athletes Announced For Pyeongchang

Pool Of 'Clean' Russian Athletes Announced For Pyeongchang

North Korea will send 22 athletes to next month's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang where they will join South Korean teammates as they march together at the opening ceremony, organisers say.

It will be part of a North Korean Olympic delegation that will also include athletes, officials, state media reporters, a cheering group and a taekwondo demonstration team.

Bach was flanked by Olympic and government officials from both countries at a brief news conference at the Olympic Museum after a 2 1/2-hour meeting at IOC offices nearby.

He also confirmed that, for the first time in Olympic history, the two nations will enter a joint women's ice hockey team under the name Korea and represented by the unification flag.

"Let us not forget that such an agreement would have seemed impossible only a few weeks ago".

A seven-member North Korean team had been scheduled to visit on Saturday to check venues for the performances, the Unification Ministry previously said.

The move comes despite North and South Korea still being technically at war with each other and growing tensions with the West over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

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"This team will be a great symbol of the unifying power of Olympic sport", Bach said, while also thanking the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) for its "enthusiastic cooperation".

Traditional Korean folk song "Arirang" has been decided as their anthem and the unified team will use the acronym COR.

The North Korean delegation will arrive in the Olympic Village no later than 1 February 2018 and the athletes will have to go through anti-doping tests.

After his statement, Bach posed with National Olympic Committee leaders Il Guk Kim from the DPRK and Kee Heung Lee of the South Korean NOC, PyeongChang 2018 President Hee Beom Lee, Winter Olympic Federations President Gian-Franco Kasper and PyeongChang 2018 Coordination Commission chair Gunilla Lindberg. "Whether you're South Korean or North Korean, they have to earn their place".

An additional berth in the pairs figure skating was made for North Korea's Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik. The North Korean players will compete in three sporting events.

"I am hoping we can just play the way we play and not have the influence of, 'I need to play this player, '" she said on Tuesday after returning from a USA training camp.

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