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Unified Korean handball team to start pre-worlds training on Saturday

North Korea 10:23 December 17, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 17 (Yonhap) -- The unified Korean men's handball team set to compete at the upcoming world championships will begin their joint training on the weekend, Seoul officials said Monday.

The Korea Handball Federation (KHF) said the 16 South Korean players will travel to Germany, a co-host country of the Jan. 10-27 International Handball Federation (IHF) World Men's Handball Championship with Denmark, on Friday. Then the North Korean delegation, with four players and three officials, will join them the following day.

In this file photo from Aug. 31, 2018, members of the South Korean men's handball team celebrate their bronze medal at the 18th Asian Games at GOR Popki Cibubur in Jakarta. (Yonhap)

The joint team, which will be called "Korea," will face Germany in the tournament opener on Jan. 10 in Berlin.

With South Korean head coach Cho Young-shin at the helm, the 16 South Korean players will gather for an early camp at the National Training Center in Jincheon, some 90 kilometers south of Seoul, later Monday.

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

Korea is in Group A with Germany (world No. 1), Russia (No. 4), France (No. 5), Serbia (No. 6) and Brazil (No. 27).

South Korea is No. 19 and North Korea isn't ranked.

After round robin action, the top three teams from each of the four groups will advance to the main round. Those 12 teams will then be divided into two groups of six, and the top two from each will move on to the semifinals.

South Korea failed to qualify for the past two world championships in 2015 and 2017, and finished 21st in 2013.

In this file photo from Aug. 22, 2018, South Korean men's handball head coach Cho Young-shin directs his players during a match against Bahrain at the 18th Asian Games at GOR Popki Cibubur in Jakarta. (Yonhap)


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