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North Korea given green light for game in Gangneung

The Ministry of Unification approved entry of the North Korean women’s ice hockey team’s visit to South Korea to participate in the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division II Group A schedule to start from April 2 to April 8 at Gangneung, Gangwon.

They permission was granted by the Ministry of Unification in the late afternoon on Tuesday. The North Korean women’s ice hockey team is created with total of 30 people, of which 20 are players and 10 are coaching staffs. The North Korean women’s ice hockey team will arrive in South Korea via China.

The event, a test event for the 2018 Olympics, will be played among six different countries - South Korea, North Korea, Netherlands, England, Slovenia and Australia - and South Korea is expected to play against North Korea on April 6, at 9 p.m.

Aside from ice hockey, the Korean women’s national football team is schedule to play in preliminary match for the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Pyongyang from April 3 to April 11, where South Korea is expected to play against North Korean on April 7.

Since the South Korean women’s football team is going to North Korea rather them hosting them, the Ministry of Unification has asked the North Korean authorities for a guarantee of personal security.



KBO aims to set attendance record for third year running

The nation’s top baseball league has set its sights on breaking the single season attendance record for the third straight season.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said Wednesday that its attendance target for the 2017 season is just over 8.78 million, up from 8.34 million in 2016. The league came up with the number after combining target figures for all 10 clubs.

Baseball has been the country’s most popular sport in recent years. The KBO surpassed the 7 million mark for the first time in 2012 with 7.16 million, before the number dipped to 6.44 million the following year. After a slight increase to 6.51 million in 2014, the league established a new record with 7.36 million in 2015 and outdid itself with 8.34 million last year.

The teams will each play 144 games this season, which will get under way Friday. They will have to average 12,203 fans a game to reach their overall target.

Among individual clubs, the Doosan Bears, the two-time reigning champions, and the LG Twins both said they’ll try to attract 1.2 million fans. They share Seoul’s Jamsil Stadium as their home.

The Bears led the KBO with 1.17 million home fans last year and became the first Korean professional sports franchise to draw at least 1 million fans in eight straight seasons.

The Lotte Giants still own the KBO record for attendance in a season with 1.37 million in 2012. The Hanwha Eagles, who drew 660,472 fans last season, said their goal is to get to 645,000 this year.

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