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N. Korean Paralympians to leave S. Korea on Thursday

2018/03/14 08:41

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, March 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korean athletes and officials participating in the Winter Paralympics in South Korea will leave Thursday following the end of their competition, officials said Wednesday.

North Korea sent a 20-member athletic delegation, including skiers Ma Yu-chol and Kim Jong-hyon, to the PyeongChang Winter Paralympics, which began last Friday and will wrap up Sunday. Joining them were four officials from Pyongyang's Paralympic committee, led by Kim Mun-chol, head of the central committee of the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled (KFPD).

Ma and Kim will have their final races in the cross-country skiing sprint later Wednesday. And the 20-member athletic delegation will depart PyeongChang on Thursday as scheduled.

North Korean para skiers Ma Yu-chol (L) and Kim Jong-hyon train at Alpensia Biathlon Centre in PyeongChang during the 2018 Winter Paralympics on March 10, 2018. (Yonhap) North Korean para skiers Ma Yu-chol (L) and Kim Jong-hyon train at Alpensia Biathlon Centre in PyeongChang during the 2018 Winter Paralympics on March 10, 2018. (Yonhap)

But Kim Mun-chol's four-member delegation is likely to stay through the end of the Paralympics and attend Sunday's closing ceremony, according to Lee Myung-ho, president of Seoul's Korean Paralympic Committee (KPC).

"As far as I understand, North Korean officials will remain in PyeongChang, instead of returning home with the athletes," Lee said. "We'll continue to cooperate with North Korea in sports for the disabled."

   Ma and Kim were granted special entries to compete in their first Paralympics here this month. Last Sunday, they competed in the men's 15-kilometer cross-country sitting event, and placed 26th and 27th, respectively, among 29 athletes.

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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