HANGZHOU: No longer marching together or competing under one flag, athletes from South Korea and North Korea will go toe to toe in multiple events at the Hangzhou Asian Games in China, reported Yonhap.

The competition’s first all-Korean battles will take place Sunday, the first day of the medal race following Saturday’s opening ceremony.

In boxing, Im Ae-ji of South Korea and Pang Chol-mi of North Korea will meet in the round of 16 in the women’s 54kg event on Sunday at Hangzhou Gymnasium.

Pang won the silver medal in the women’s 51kg at the previous Asian Games five years ago.

Also in women’s boxing, Oh Yeon-ji of South Korea, the defending champion in the 60kg division, will face North Korean Won Un-gyong in the round of 16.

Their bouts are scheduled for the afternoon. All-Korean duels in judo could come in the morning hours depending on results in early matches.

In the men’s -66kg division, North Korea’s Ri Kum-song will meet Abolfazl Mahmoudi of Iran in the round of 32. Should Ri prevail, he will face the defending Asiad gold medalist from South Korea, An Baul, in the next round.

In the women’s -48kg, Lee Hye-kyeong of South Korea and Jon Su-song of North Korea are on the same side of the bracket and could meet in the semifinals: ditto for Lee Ha-rim of South Korea and Chae Kwang-jin of North Korea in the men’s -60kg, and Jung Ye-rin of South Korea and Kim Won-gum of North Korea in the women’s -52kg.

More South vs. North battles are on the way in judo on Monday.

In women’s basketball, South Korea and North Korea have been paired in Group C, five years after the joint Korean team won the silver medal in Jakarta.

Their game is scheduled for Thursday, with South Korean center Park Ji-su and North Korean center Ro Suk-yong, who had formed lethal twin towers in 2018, now returning as foes.

The Koreas also had joint teams in dragon boat and won three medals, including gold in the women’s 500m. A few members of the gold medal squad are back for their respective countries this time.

North Korea has sent 185 athletes in 17 sports.-Bernama

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