Pyongyang’s sports event diplomacy continues on

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Pyongyang’s sports event diplomacy continues on

Pyongyang for the first time plans to participate in an international military sports competition to be held in South Korea, another indication of its fondness for sports diplomacy.

North Korea said it will send a 15-member delegation to the 61st World Military Pentathlon Championship in Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang, which will take place from Oct. 8 to 16, according to organizing officials.

The annual event is organized by the Brussels-based International Military Sports Council (CISM), the second-largest sports body following the International Olympics Committee, which was founded in 1948 and has 133 member states including North Korea. Around 350 armed forces athletes from some 35 countries will participate in the competition to be held at the Korea Army Academy in Yeongcheon. There will be observers from some 80 countries.

The competition, hosted this year by South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense, serves as a precursor to the 2015 Conseil International de Sport Militaire World Summer Games in Mungyeong, North Gyeongsang, in October of next year. The World Summer Games have been held since 1995, and the last was held in 2011 in Rio de Janeiro, with 4,900 competitors from over 100 countries.

The military pentathlon’s categories are shooting, obstacle running, obstacle swimming, throwing and cross-country. The shooting category includes precision firing and rapid firing from a 300-meter distance.

Park Jun-seok, an organizing committee member in charge of media, said, “Any country that is member to the council and meets its standards is eligible to participate.”

Following the hosting of a rare international pro-wrestling tournament in Pyongyang last month, a 273-member athletic delegation from North Korea will take part in the Incheon Asian Games that kick off today.

BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]












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