Inter-Korean handball team to start training this month

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Inter-Korean handball team to start training this month

The joint Korean handball team bound for the 2019 men’s world handball championships will start training later this month in Germany, officials from the sports ministry said Tuesday, hinting that North Korean athletes will not come to South Korea this time.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, three officials and four athletes from North Korea will join the South Koreans in Germany later this month to prepare for the 2019 (IHF) World Men’s Handball Championship, which will be co-hosted by Germany and Denmark from Jan. 10-27.

South and North Korea agreed to send a joint handball team to the 2019 worlds following their sports talks last month.

The rosters for the 24-team tournament are set at 16 players apiece, but the IHF allowed the pan-Korean team to add four players and compete with an expanded roster.

Sixteen South Korean athletes for the joint team will be assembled Monday and will train at the National Training Center in Jincheon, North Chungcheong. They are scheduled to fly to Germany on Dec. 20.

The unranked joint Korean team will face handball powerhouses in the group stage. The Koreans are in Group A with host Germany (No. 1 in the world rankings), Russia (No. 4), France (No. 5), Serbia (No. 6) and Brazil (No. 27). South Korea, however, is ranked 19th.

The team will be coached by South Korea’s Cho Young-shin, who currently leads the men’s handball team at the Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corps, better known as Sangmu. The four North Korean athletes for the joint team have been reported to be solider-athletes.

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