IPC to hold talks with South, North over unified teams

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IPC to hold talks with South, North over unified teams

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) will soon hold a tripartite meeting with South and North Korea to discuss fielding unified teams at the upcoming Paralympic Games in Tokyo, a Japanese newspaper reported Wednesday, citing a top official.

IPC President Andrew Parsons said in an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun that his organization is set to talk with the National Paralympic Committees from the two Koreas.

Parsons said that the three parties are “positive” on seeing joint Korean efforts at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. He added that they will exchange ideas on sports disciplines that the two Koreas wish to form unified teams in and a possible joint parade at the opening ceremony.

If they reach a deal, it will be the first time that the two Koreas will have performed together as one team in Paralympic Games history, Parsons told the Mainichi Shimbun.

The two Koreas previously planned to have a joint march at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, but it didn’t happen after they failed to narrow their differences on using a unified Korean flag showing Dokdo. There were no unified Korean teams at the PyeongChang Paralympics.

The latest move follows the two Koreas’ meeting with the International Olympic Committee last month in Lausanne, Switzerland, where they agreed to send unified teams in four sports - women’s basketball, women’s field hockey, judo and rowing - and march together at the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.

So far, the Koreas have formed unified teams only once in international competitions for athletes with impairments. Last year, they joined forces at the 2018 Asian Para Games in Indonesia.

Seoul’s Korea Paralympic Committee (KPC) has already expressed its wish to compete together with North Koreans.

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