Asian Games 2018: Jakarta & Palembang, Aug 18-Sept 2

Unified Korean team are genuine hope, not gimmick

Unified Korea's Jang Mi Gyong (right, a North Korean) and team-mate Kim Han-byul, from the South, defending against India's Madhu Kumari in the women's basketball preliminary Group A match. The Koreans won 104-54.
Unified Korea's Jang Mi Gyong (right, a North Korean) and team-mate Kim Han-byul, from the South, defending against India's Madhu Kumari in the women's basketball preliminary Group A match. The Koreans won 104-54.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Women basketballers a potent symbol for peace, reconciliation and unification on peninsula

On court, if you've never seen them, you can't tell Ro Suk Yong, 76kg from Lim Yung-hui, 75kg. Can't tell which of these women, in the same team, grew up to different flags. Can't tell which three women in the Unified Korea team are from the North because in the profiles on the official website only their pictures are missing.

But if you consider it, it's appropriate that you can't distinguish North from South because surely that's the very idea of this team. That essentially they are the same. That when No. 12 passes to No. 35, who scores in the first few seconds, this isn't a peaceful North-South exchange. It's just fine basketball.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2018, with the headline 'Unified Korean team are genuine hope, not gimmick'. Print Edition | Subscribe