North Korea Struggles in Winter Sports

Korea Times
Kang Seung-woo

Former winter sports power North Korea is sinking, taking no medals at the Winter Asian Games, which ended Sunday.

The Stalinist state has not picked up a gold medal since the Sapporo Winter Asian Games in 1990, when it earned one gold, two silvers and five bronzes.

“Because of the outcome, the mood of the North Koreans is bad,’’ Chung Ki-young, a manager of the South Korean team, said in Changchun, China, where the most recent games were held.

“We were supposed to meet for lunch, but the North called us to cancel the appointment. They said their situation was not good enough to have lunch with the South.’’

On North Korea losing its winter sports competitiveness, Min Byung-chan, the general manager of South Korea’s ice hockey team, said its absence from most international competitions caused the North to find itself in its current position.

“They did not participate in many international events in the 1990s. That makes North Korea struggle now,’’ Min said.

The general manager said a lack of investment in winter sports was another reason for the North’s struggle.

Min said a North Korea skating coach complained that new skates and other ice hockey equipment was too expensive for most North Korean skaters to buy.

As a result, the North asked for support from the Korea Ice Hockey Association. 


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