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Extra roster spots for athletes will not be granted for joint Korean teams at Asian Games Updated: 2018-05-15 18:03:38 KST


The organizing committee for the 2018 Asian Games will only support joint Korean teams if those teams aren't granted any extra roster spots for athletes.
Lee Kee-heung , head of Korea's Sport and Olympic Committee, confirmed the Olympic Council of Asia's roster decision on Monday.

The Asian Games organizing committee's decision comes after the joint Korean women's ice hockey team, formed for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, was allowed to add 12 North Korean players to its original roster of 23 South Korean players.

Seven sports federations have expressed an interest in forming a joint Korean team with North Korea for the Asian Games, and Basketball is one of those seven sports.

According to the president of South Korean basketball's governing body,… the decision was based on a long history of sporting exchanges between the two Koreas.

(KOREAN)

"South Korea has long been in contact with North Korea through basketball. In the early 20th century, there was the Seoul-Pyongyang basketball competition, Korea's biggest sporting rivalry. So because we have that traditional background of sporting exchanges, the KBL has agreed to a certain degree to form a combined Korean team."

Experts see this as a turning point for basketball itself, and of course for inter-Korean ties.

(KOREAN)

"For the basketball association, things like forming a joint team are a chance to boost the sport's popularity. And for the relationship between the two Koreas,… it will help build momentum towards peace on the Korean Peninsula."

But many experts are concerned that North Korean basketball players are a virtually unknown quantity, having not appeared at any international competition since the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010.
And, just like the women's joint ice hockey team at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics,… a major drawback will be the unfairness to South Korean basketball players who are cut from the roster to make room for the North Korean athletes.

The deadline for the athletes' registration for the Asian Games is at the end of June,… and at the moment, the Korean Canoe Federation seems the most likely candidate for forming a joint team as it won't come at the expense of any athletes, considering neither South, nor North Korea have full time paddlers for the discipline of Dragon boat.

But the South Korean Olympic Committee is working hard to try and field more than one joint Korean team at the Asian Games.
Won Jung-hwan, Arirang News.
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