The North and South Korean women’s team, who were scheduled to compete against each other in the quarter-final stage at the Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships in Halmstad, shook hands and greeted each other with broad smiles in an atmosphere of friendship and solidarity in an historic move to form a unified Korean team.
The power of sport in bonding divided nations transcended all as the two Korean teams competed as one in their semi-final clash against Japan. The eventual result was not the important factor, the important factor was that table tennis brought unity. It showed the positive face of mankind.
ITTF CEO Steve DAINTON stated: “After the historic unification of the Korean teams at the 2018 World Table Tennis Championships, it is great to see that table tennis will again be used as a tool for peace between nations. Table tennis has a rich history in diplomacy, so we are happy that the IOC is using table tennis on Olympic Day to show the world how table tennis can be used as tool to promote peace.
Gold medallists at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, MA Long and DING Ning will be present in Lausanne, together with South Korea’s Athens 2004 medallists RYU Seungmin & KIM Kyungah, and North Korean superstars KIM Song I & PAK Sin Hyok. Ai FUKUHARA & Tomokazu HARIMOTO from Japan will round out the star-studded cast that will be showing unification through table tennis.
ITTF President Thomas WEIKERT, ITTF CEO Steve DAINTON and ITTF Secretary General Raul CALIN will also be in attendance to witness this historic moment of peace playing out.
The players present in Lausanne will be accompanied by the Presidents of their respective National Olympic Committees.