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N. Korean women's basketball coach 'deeply moved' by inter-Korean match in Pyongyang

2018/07/04 20:31

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PYONGYANG/SEOUL, July 4 (Joint Press Corps-Yonhap) -- North Korean women's basketball head coach Jang Myong-jin said Wednesday he felt "deeply moved" after watching the players from the two Koreas playing together in a friendly game in Pyongyang.

The Koreas started their two-day friendly basketball event with the women's mixed game at Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium. The players from South and North Korea combined to form two teams -- named "Team Peace" and "Team Prosperity" -- and competed to a warm reception from spectators in Pyongyang.

Jang led Team Peace in the women's mixed game, but his side lost to Team Prosperity 103-102. The result, however, didn't really matter to Jang.

"We had wins and losses separately in international competitions, but I was really moved today that the North and the South gathered and played together," Jang told pool reporters in Pyongyang. "We didn't really practice together before the match, but I felt the greatness of the Korean blood after watching the players showed a good team work. I also felt a brotherhood through today's game."

  

This pool photo taken July 4, 2018, shows South Korean and North Korean women's basketball players shaking hands after their friendly game at Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium in Pyongyang. (Yonhap) This pool photo taken July 4, 2018, shows South Korean and North Korean women's basketball players shaking hands after their friendly game at Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium in Pyongyang. (Yonhap)

Jang said he was impressed by every move of the players including those from the South.

"Team Peace's No. 11 (Lim Young-hee) is an old player, but I was impressed that she really sacrificed for the team," he said. "Team Prosperity's No. 2 (Park Ji-hyun) is young, but she worked hard to help in her team's victory. If we can join hands together, we might see bigger results."

   The South and the North previously agreed to send a joint women's basketball team to the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia. Though it wasn't a competitive contest, Wednesday's game gave a hint of how the joint Korean team would look at the Asian Games.

"There's a song lyric that the North and the South can't live when they're separate, so if we can unite as an one team, I firmly believe we'll produce good results."

   North Korea's Ri Jong-ok, who scored a game-high 26 points for Team Peace, said that she was also happy that the two Koreas played together.

"I'm really happy that I'm able to participate in the unification basketball event prepared by the North and the South's officials," she said. "Through each pass and feeling that the North and the South shared, I felt that we're one," she said. "

   Ri said both North and South Koreans played a good game. After the match, South Korean head coach Lee Moon-kyu pointed out that Ri was one of the North Koreans that caught his eyes.

"I was happy when I saw the players cheer together," she said. "If we can unite our hearts and thoughts, I think we'll be able to show Korean people's courage and wisdom (at the Asian Games)."

   kdon@yna.co.kr

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