The quarter-finals of the Women’s Championship
Division delivered a major surprise on the 3rd of May with the announcement that Korea
Republic and DPR Korea, otherwise known as South Korea and North Korea, would not be
facing one another at the 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships. Korea Republic had been handed a bye in the
opening round of the main draw having finished at the summit of their group but with DPR
Korea claiming a big 3-0 win over ninth seeds Russia the prospect of an all-Korean quarter-final
was booked. The two Korean teams were set to meet for
the first time since the last eight of the 2017 Asian Championships, a tie which was
won by Korea Republic by a 3-0 score-line. Fast forward to the morning of the 3rd of
May 2018 and spectators were gathered at the Halmstad Arena in Sweden awaiting the all-Korean
encounter. But then in a surprise move it was announced
that the two sides would not be facing one another but instead would form one Unified
Korea team, a move which hasn’t been seen in table tennis since the 1991 World Championships. This comes just months after a similar motion
was witnessed at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games where the two Koreas marched together at the
opening ceremony and competed as a Unified Korea team in the Women’s Hockey competition. 2004 Olympic champion, Korea Republic’s
Ryu Seungmin hailed the news labelling it as a historic occasion while the President
of the Table Tennis Association of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ju Jong Chol
also welcomed the decision.

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Dennis Veasley

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