Jakarta, MINA — North Korean athletes were officially welcomed at the athletes’ village in Jakarta for the 18th Asian Games on Thursday, Yonhap reported.
Led by Won Kil-u, North Korea’s vice sports minister and chef de mission for its delegation at the Asian Games, 20 athletes and officials from Pyongyang attended the welcoming ceremony at the athletes village for the Asian Games in Kemayoran, north of Jakarta.
The North Koreans had the team welcoming ceremony together with athletes from Thailand and Yemen.
Yuni Kartika, the mayor of the athletes village, presented a gift to Won and delivered a warm welcoming message to the athletes.
According to the organizers, North Korea will send 168 athletes in 11 sports to the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. They’ve also formed a unified team with South Korea in women’s basketball, dragon boat racing in canoeing and rowing.
The North Koreans, who arrived in Indonesia last Saturday, said that they’re enjoying their stay at the athletes village.
“We don’t have any inconvenience staying here,” said Kim Il-guk, president of the North’s National Olympic Committee. “I’m sure you’ll have lots of opportunities to talk with us during the competition.”
Like South Korea, a scorching heat wave also has hit North Korea. North Koreans said they are also enjoying the weather in Indonesia, which is about 5 degrees C cooler than Korea.
“It feels good to be here,” said Ri Song-chol, a North Korean official with the team. “Pyongyang was hot, but it’s cooler here.”
North Korean athletes who attended the welcoming ceremony were mostly female handball players. Some of them burst into tears during the welcoming ceremony while listening to their national anthem. Afterward, they didn’t answer reporters’ questions, responding only with smiles.
North Korea’s handball players attend a welcoming ceremony at the athletes’ village in Jakarta for the 18th Asian Games on Aug. 16, 2018. (Yonhap) North Korea’s handball players attend a welcoming ceremony at the athletes’ village in Jakarta for the 18th Asian Games on Aug. 16, 2018. (T//RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)