DPRK to take part in Asian Games, end years-long sporting isolation
DPRK athletes are listed on the Asian Games' website to compete in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.
The DPRK has 191 athletes signed up for the Asian Games starting next week, according to organizers, suggesting that the country is poised to end its more than three-year isolation from the global sporting arena.
DPRK athletes are listed on the Games' website to compete in the Chinese city of Hangzhou in sports including athletics, gymnastics, basketball, football, boxing, and weightlifting.
The DPRK closed its already tight borders in early 2020, following the outbreak of the pandemic, and skipped the Tokyo Olympics, which were pushed back to 2021 due to COVID-19.
It was then banned by the International Olympic Committee from the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics for failing to take part in Tokyo.
There have been signs recently that the border restrictions have been eased slightly, with a taekwondo team competing last month in Kazakhstan.
Prior to that, the DPRK had not sent any of its domestic athletes to overseas competitions since the pandemic.
The sporting action at the Games in Hangzhou starts on September 19, four days before the opening ceremony, with the DPRK scheduled to face Taiwan in men's football that day.
The DPRK has traditionally been especially strong in weightlifting, dominating the event at the Jakarta Asian Games in 2018 with eight golds.
Ri Song Gum and Rim Un Sim, who both won gold in the women's weightlifting five years ago, are scheduled to appear in Hangzhou.
The Asian Games feature about 12,200 competitors in total -- more than the Olympics -- and end on October 8.