Sports

N.Korean Athletes Arrive in Olympic Village

February 02, 2018 12:42

Ten North Korean athletes and their 22-strong entourage arrived in South Korea on Thursday afternoon aboard a chartered airplane.

The North Koreans were flown out of Kalma Airport near the North's Masikryong Ski Resort, where some had trained briefly along with South Korean skiers who had traveled there the previous day.

The Olympic village in the northeastern port city of Gangneung flew both the North and South Korean flags on their arrival. Their chartered Asiana Airlines plane took off from Kalma Airport in the North at 5:10 p.m. and arrived in Yangyang at 6:45 p.m.

North Korean athletes and officials arrive in Gangneung, Gangwon Province on Thursday, ahead of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. /Yonhap

The athletes include the figure skating pair Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik, the only ones to qualify officially for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, who waved to South Korean reporters from their bus.

North Korean Vice Sports Minister Won Kil-u, who led the delegation, said, "I bring the regards of our Northern compatriots to our brethren in the South."

One extra member of the North Korean delegation caused a stir. With the 15 female North Korean ice hockey players who have been here since last week, the total delegation has swelled to 47, rather than 46 as originally planned. An official at the organizing committee said, "Even we don't know anything about the extra person."

Earlier on Thursday, North and South Korean junior skiers took part in an alpine skiing friendly at Masikryong Ski Resort, while cross-country skiers trained together.

The athletes chatted after training and asked each other their age and other questions. One South Korean athlete said, "I wish I had my smartphone so we could take selfies." But all South Korean skiers had to leave their smartphones behind before departing for North Korea on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the North's Samjiyon Orchestra headed by bandleader-cum-apparatchik Hyon Song-wol is scheduled to perform at 8 p.m. on Feb. 8 in Gangneung and 7 p.m. on Feb. 11 in Seoul.

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