World Bulletin / News Desk
North Korea will send 22 athletes to next month's Winter Games in the South, the International Olympic Committee said Saturday, approving a landmark deal between two nations still officially at war.
In a surprise New Year's announcement, the leader of Stalinist North Korea Kim Jong-un said he was open to sending a delegation to Pyeongchang.
Before this week's meeting at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, the two Koreas had already agreed on a set of momentous compromises, including delegations from both countries marching together at the opening ceremony and the formation of a unified women's hockey team.
But the two Koreas still needed approval from the IOC, as the pact required the suspension of some basic Olympic rules.
IOC president Thomas Bach gave that approval Saturday, announcing that 22 athletes had been cleared to compete in three sports and a total of five disciplines.
Those include figure skating, short-track speed skating, cross-country skiing and Alpine skiing, as well as hockey, with the IOC having approved the entry of the joint team, despite concerns voiced by some hockey federations over fairness.
At the opening ceremony, the joint delegation "will be led into the Olympic stadium by the Korean unification flag" carried together by athlete from each country, the IOC said.
A special unity uniform will be created for the event.
No North Korean athlete had technically qualified for Pyeongchang, so Saturday's announcement required extending qualification deadlines in the sports concerned.Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Ocak 2018, 17:23