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Joint Korean handball team to start training in Germany

All Headlines 11:11 December 11, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) -- The joint Korean handball team at next year's men's world handball championships will start training later this month in Germany, officials from the sports ministry said Tuesday, hinting that North Korean athletes will not come to South Korea this time.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, three officials and four athletes from North Korea will join the South Koreans in Germany later this month to prepare for the 2019 (IHF) World Men's Handball Championship, which will be co-hosted by Germany and Denmark from Jan. 10-27.

This file photo taken Aug. 31, 2018, shows South Korea men's national handball team at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta. (Yonhap)

South and North Korea agreed to send a joint handball team to the 2019 worlds following their sports talks last month.

The rosters for the 24-team tournament are set at 16 players apiece, but the IHF allowed the pan-Korean team to add four players and compete with an expanded roster.

Like the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the 18th Asian Games this year, it was widely expected that North Koreans would visit South Korea to train before the joint team travels to competition venues. But for the upcoming worlds, the two sides apparently decided to skip training in South Korea.

Sixteen South Korean athletes for the joint team will be assembled Monday and will train at the National Training Center in Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province. They are scheduled to fly to Germany on Dec. 20.

The unranked joint Korean team will face handball powerhouses in the group stage. The Koreans are in Group A with host Germany (No. 1 in the world rankings), Russia (No. 4), France (No. 5), Serbia (No. 6) and Brazil (No. 27). South Korea, however, is ranked 19th.

The team will be coached by South Korea's Cho Young-shin, who currently leads the men's handball team at the Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corps, better known as Sangmu. The four North Korean athletes for the joint team have been reported to be solider-athletes.

This file photo taken Aug. 22, 2018, shows South Korea men's national handball team head coach Cho Young-shin guiding his players during a match against Bahrain at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta. (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr
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