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Koreas hold joint training ahead of Winter Olympic Games

Koreas hold joint training ahead of Winter Olympic Games


IANS
Gangneung (South Korea)
Short track speed skaters from the two Koreas conducted joint training at the Gangneung Ice Arena here on Thursday, the first time the athletes have warmed up together.
North Korea have sent two short track speed skaters to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Choe Un-song will compete in the men's 500 metres event while Jong Kwang-bom will enter the men's 1,500m, reports Yonhap news agency.
Choe, regarded as the better of the two, suffered an ankle injury earlier this month but he seemed stable throughout the training session. Skaters from the two Koreas were seen talking in a friendly atmosphere.
Following North Korea's offer to participate in the 2018 Winter Games, the two Koreas decided to forge a joint team for women's ice hockey. The short trackers will compete under their respective national flags, as in other sports.
Both Choe and Kwang declined to respond to questions from South Korean journalists after the training.
"They were really younger than I thought,"South Korean male skater Kwak Yoon-gy said.
"They were praiseworthy considering that they are making efforts on such a big stage at young ages."
Choe is 25-year-old and Jong is even younger at 16. South Korean female skater Shim Suk-hee said training together with the North Koreans made them feel closer.
Kim Ye-jin, another South Korean female skater, said the athletes were in a good mood with North Korea despite the prolonged political tensions between the two Koreas, which were separated in 1945.
"We had general conversations. Jong called me ugly, so I told him back, 'Did you look in the mirror?'"Kim said. Skaters from Germany also practiced at a similar time with the Korean athletes.
"It was nice to skate with (the North Koreans). We did not see them a lot in the season, but it is nice to have them at the Olympics,"Bianca Walter, a female German skater, said.

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