North vows to fight for a spot at Tokyo 2020 Games

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North vows to fight for a spot at Tokyo 2020 Games

North Korea will concentrate all its forces on securing 2020 Tokyo Olympic spots this year, a pro-North Korea newspaper in Japan reported Friday, citing Pyongyang’s sports minister.

The Choson Sinbo said that North Korean Sports Minister Kim Il-guk unveiled the communist state’s 2019 objectives in sports at its National Olympic Committee meeting in Pyongyang on March 28.

Kim said North Korea’s Olympic body is spurring its preparations to earn Tokyo 2020 quota places in various sports, namely in football, table tennis, handball, weightlifting, judo, boxing, wrestling, swimming, canoeing, marathon, gymnastics and shooting.

In 2019, Kim said that North Korea should show its wisdom and power in international competitions, according to the Choson Sinbo. He added that North Korea would also need to successfully host international events on its soil, such as the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Challenge Plus Pyongyang Open in July and the Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championship in October.

However, the Choson Sinbo didn’t report whether Kim talked about forming unified teams with South Korea and having a joint parade at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) last month approved a proposal by the two Koreas and allowed them to compete together as one team in women’s basketball, women’s field hockey, rowing and judo from the qualification phase for Tokyo 2020.

South Korea’s Korean Olympic and Sport Committee (KSOC) last month made a proposal to North Korea to have a meeting to discuss the team selection process and schedule for joint training, but Pyongyang has yet to respond.

Kim did say that the unified team at the PyeongChang Olympics “inspired” development in inter-Korean relations and the fighting spirit of the Korean people.

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