SEOUL – The International Paralympic Committee has sent a formal invitation to the National Paralympic Committee of North Korea for two athletes to participate in the PyeongChang Winter Games.
If North Korea accepts the invitation, the two athletes – Jonghyon Kim and Yuchol Ma, who made their international debut at the World Cup in January in Oberried, Germany, with funding from the Asian Paralympic Committee and the Agitos Foundation – will march at the opening ceremony together with South Korean participants under a unified flag on March 9.
“Now that we have offered two bipartite slots to North Korean athletes I am extremely hopeful that the country will compete at its first Paralympic Winter Games this March,” IPC President Andrew Parsons said.
North Korea is yet to participate in any Paralympic Winter Games although it has taken part in the Summer Olympics in London in 2012 and in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
“I think North Korea’s participation will send out a very strong message of bringing peace through sport,” Parsons said.
“For both countries to march together at the opening and closing ceremonies will be a very special and historic moment and the result of a fantastic team effort by many,” he added.
Like all nations competing at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, to be held between March 9-18, the North Korean, too, will receive a travel grant by the IPC.