Int’l gymnastics body chief says N. Korea to review participating in competition in S. Korea

BEIJING, July 14 (Yonhap) -- The chief of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) who recently visited Pyongyang said Saturday that North Korea will review participating in a gymnastics event in South Korea later this year.

Morinari Watanabe told reporters at Beijing Capital Airport on his way home that North Koreans will positively review their participation in the Korea Cup international gymnastics competition in Jeju in November. The 59-year-old Japanese revealed that he delivered an invitation letter from Seoul's Korea Gymnastics Association to North Korea.

Watanabe was in North Korea from Thursday to Saturday. During the visit, he met with North Korea's sports minister Kim Il-guk and went around various gymnasiums in the North Korean capital, including the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium.

When asked about North Korea's participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Watanabe said he didn't discuss such topics in detail. However, he added that North Koreans agreed to hold a FIG executive committee meeting in Pyongyang in the future.

Meanwhile, the North Korean table tennis team that will compete in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour Platinum Korean Open next week in Daejeon, 160 kilometers south of Seoul, was also spotted at Beijing Capital Airport.

North Korea previously agreed to send a 25-member delegation, including 16 players, to South Korea after the two sides held sports talks. The North Koreans are scheduled to arrive at Incheon International Airport in South Korea on Sunday.

"There's a possibility that we can form unified teams at the competition," said Ju Jong-chol, secretary general of the North Korean Table Tennis Association.

The two Koreas previously joined forces at the World Team Table Tennis Championship in Sweden in May, and the joint Korean women's team won the bronze medal.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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