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Table tennis body mulls joint team for Olympics

Jan 04,2019
South Korea’s table tennis federation will soon launch internal discussions on forming a unified team with North Korea at the next Summer Olympics, officials said Thursday.

The Korea Table Tennis Association (KTTA) will convene its competition improvement committee meeting on Friday, with Ryu Seung-min, the 2004 Olympic men’s singles champion and an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, chairing the occasion.

At the top of the agenda will be the potential formation of a combined Korean team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Sports officials from the two Koreas have agreed to field joint teams in Tokyo, and they will have to decide in which sports they will bring the athletes together.

Table tennis appears to be a logical candidate given recent history for the Koreas. They had joint teams at the world team championships last May, the Korea Open in July and the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour Grand Finals last month in Incheon, just west of Seoul.

Table tennis is also the first sport for which the Koreas had a combined team at an international event, having done so at the 1991 world championships in Japan.

This year, South Korean Jang Woo-jin and North Korean Cha Hyo-sim have been mixed doubles partners, winning the Korea Open title.

The Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) has asked sports federations to decide by Jan. 11 whether they would be willing to have joint teams at Tokyo 2020.