Ex-Olympic table tennis champion surprised with formation of joint Korean team

Erika Holt
May 7, 2018

However, they approached the authorities to permit them to compete as a unified team. The two Koreas are competing as one in the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Sweden.

It is the first unified Korean team in 27 years, since the World Table Tennis Championships in Chiba, Japan in 1991, where they won the gold medal.

Kim Song-i, victor of a bronze medal for North Korea at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, said: "I also saw this video and I was surprised about the power of the united team".

The teams, through to the semifinals via mutual contest, will now take on either Japan or Ukraine on Friday.

Ding said, "It was my first time playing Soo, and I didn't get well prepared".

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Pingpong diplomacy is uniting North and South Korea at the table tennis world championships.

"Table tennis has contributed greatly to global peace, and it's important to aim to build peace in society through sports", he said. "And so I still can't believe we have the joint team on our hand".

"I thought the joint team was only a part of history". Using table tennis as a platform to promote this pledge was looked upon with great admiration worldwide. "At least now we can be a more powerful team", Suh Hyowon said in a video shared by ITTF. The united team is the latest sporting proof of the thaw in relations between the two rival Koreas that began at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February when they marched together at the opening ceremony and fielded a joint women's hockey team.

It was a transfer authorised by organizers, with Thomas Weikert, president of the game's governing physique, ITTF, telling reporters: "Once I knowledgeable the board of administrators about this growth, the unified workforce obtained a standing ovation from the delegation and confirmed their signal of assist to this historic transfer".

The unified Korean team is guaranteed a place on the podium and medals regardless of their semi-final result.

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