The news comes after the North Korean team confirmed its participation at the Korea Open for the first time in history under the support of the ITTF Foundation as part of its Ping Pong Diplomacy programme to promote solidarity through table tennis.
ITTF President Thomas WEIKERT stated “The ITTF is proud to support the reunification of the North and South Korean table tennis teams again at the Korean Open, after the historic unification of the teams at the World Championships in Halmstad. Table tennis has had a long history as a driver of peace, and we are happy to open a new chapter of table tennis diplomacy to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula.”
The North & South Korean teams will form four mixed associations pairs to compete as one Korean team in Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles events respectively.
The pairs that portray unity through sport are:
- Men’s Doubles: LEE Sangsu (KOR) & PAK Sinhyok (PRK)
- Women’s Doubles: KIM Song I (PRK) & SUH Hyowon (KOR)
- Mixed Doubles: JANG Woojin (KOR) & CHA Hyo Sim (PRK) and CHOE Il (PRK) & YOO Eunchong (KOR)
The ITTF through its Foundation will look to continue this positive unified doubles pairs initiative in the upcoming ITTF World Tour events leading up to the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals.
The Shinhan Korea Open is the fourth Platinum event of the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour with qualifications starting on 17 July 2018 and main draw action beginning on the 19th.