N.Korea Banned from Beijing Winter Olympics

  • By Shon Jin-seok, Kim Ah-jin

    September 10, 2021 13:27

    North Korea has been banned from Olympics until the end of 2022 as punishment for refusing to field a team for the Tokyo Summer Olympics amid of the coronavirus pandemic. That means it will miss out on the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics next February.

    This scuppers any residual hopes the South Korean government had to form a unified Korean team ahead of next year's presidential election here. A Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson only said, "We'll continue to look for ways to make progress towards peace on the Korean Peninsula."

    Thomas Bach /Reuters-Yonhap

    In a press conference on Wednesday, IOC President Thomas Bach said that North Korea has been suspended through 2022 for its no-show in Tokyo. "The exclusion could be extended," he added.

    "They were violating the Olympic Charter and did not fulfill their obligation as stated in the Olympic Charter to participate." It stipulates that national Olympic committees have the obligation to "send competitors, team officials and other team personnel" to every games.

    That means North Korea can get no financial support of any kind from the IOC until the end of next year and will also forfeit money it was due from previous Olympics. "The unspecified amount -- potentially millions of dollars -- had been withheld because of international sanctions," AP reported.

    Bach said, however, that individual North Korean athletes who qualify to compete in Beijing could still be accepted by a separate decision later. But a government official here said, "There's no chance of North Korea doing what Russia did" after it was banned from the Tokyo Olympics over a doping scandal but sent individual athletes instead.

    North Korea would be too terrified of its athletes defecting.

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