— Published 31 July 2023

North Korea will send its judokas

There’s no doubt about it: North Korea is about to break out of its isolation. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports that Pyongyang’s sports authorities have registered at least seven athletes for the 2023 Asian Games, scheduled from September 23 to October 8 in Hangzhou, China. They are all judokas. Three men and four women, including Kim Chol Gwang (pictured above, in white), bronze medallist at the 2018 Worlds in the team event, have been registered by the North Korean Olympic Committee. According to Yonhap, North Korea is also expected to be represented in soccer, women’s volleyball and wrestling. North Korea has not participated in any multi-sport event since the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia. Its absence from the Tokyo 2020 Games, justified by Pyongyang on health grounds, earned it an IOC suspension from the Beijing Winter Games the following year.