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  • A Blow to Joint Korean Hockey Team for Tokyo


    (ATR) The odds that a joint Korean team in women’s hockey will compete at Tokyo 2020 are growing longer.

    South Korea women's field hockey team during FIH World Hockey Series Finals in June (Getty Images)
    The two countries missed Monday’s deadline to jointly apply for the Olympic qualifying draw required by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), according to Kyodo News. Instead, South Korea entered on its own.

    In May, AFP reported that South Korea entered its own team for the FIH World Women’s Hockey Series Finals after it said the North failed to cooperate in forming a joint team.

    IOC rules stipulate that a joint team must be qualified as a single unit to be eligible for Tokyo. But Kyodo News reports the IOC says discussions with the National Olympic Committees of both Koreas are ongoing, and it is possible that a unified team could be given an IOC exemption to compete next summer.

    North Korean athletes were given special dispensation at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, as the first unified Korean team in history competed in the women’s ice hockey tournament. Since then, there have been unified Korean teams at the 2018 Asian Games and 2019 World Handball Championships.

    The IOC in February agreed to work with the respective international federations and countries' sports leaders to pave the way for unified Korean teams to take part in qualification for Tokyo in four sports: women’s basketball, women’s hockey, judo mixed team event, and rowing – women’s and men’s in the fours, quadruple sculls and eights events.

    The South Korea women’s hockey team has been drawn against Spain in the final round of qualifying matches for Tokyo 2020. The two teams will play back-to-back games in Valencia, Spain on Oct. 25-26 with only the winner earning a place at next summer’s Olympics. The possibility of a joint Korean team would end with a South Korean loss.

    Written by Gerard Farek

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