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3 N. Korean players named to unified Korean women's hoops team at Asian Games

All Headlines 22:00 July 17, 2018

SEOUL, July 17 (Yonhap) -- Three North Korean players have been named to the unified Korean women's basketball team at this year's Asian Games.

The Korea Basketball Association (KBA) in Seoul said center Ro Suk-yong, guard Jang Mi-gyong and guard Kim Hye-yon will join nine South Korean players at the Aug. 18-Sept. 2 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia.

Basketball is one of three sports in which the Koreas will field joint squads, along with rowing and canoeing. South Korea is the defending Asian Games champion in women's basketball.

In this Joint Press Corps photo from July 4, 2018, Lim Yung-hui of South Korea (L) and Ro Suk-yong of North Korea hold hands after their friendly basketball game at Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium in Pyongyang. (Yonhap)

The KBA said the North's national Olympic committee registered these three players with the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), which oversees the Asian Games. The South initially requested the North send Ro, Jang and forward Ri Jong-ok, but Pyongyang went with Kim instead.

Ro, Jang and Kim all played in the inter-Korean friendly matches in Pyongyang earlier this month. The two Koreas swapped players on July 4, and then played against each other the following day.

In that head-to-head meeting on July 5, Ro scored a game-high 32 points in South Korea's 81-74 victory.

In this Joint Press Corps photo from July 5, 2018, Kim Hye-yon of North Korea (L) takes a layup past Park Hye-jin of South Korea during an inter-Korean friendly basketball game at Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium in Pyongyang. (Yonhap)

The 181-centimeter center averaged 20.2 points per game to lead all scorers at the 2017 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Women's Asia Cup.

At the same competition, Jang averaged 3.8 points and 2.8 assists per game. Kim scored two points while appearing in just four of the team's six games.

The KBA said it hasn't fixed the schedule for joint training with the North Koreans. It's hoping to send the unified team to an international tournament named William Jones Cup, which begins on July 25 in Taiwan.

South Korean players are scheduled to leave for Taiwan next Tuesday. A KBA official said there may not be enough time to get the joint team ready for the William Jones Cup because the North Korean players will need to work out with the South Koreans and will also have to get visas to travel to Taiwan.

In this Joint Press Corps photo from July 5, 2018, North Korea's Jang Mi-gyong drives to the basket during an inter-Korean friendly basketball game at Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium in Pyongyang. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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