North Korean athletes to participate in Hangzhou Asian Games

North Korean athletes to participate in Hangzhou Asian Games
The 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia was the last multisport event that North Korea took part. File photo: AFP/Martin Bureau

North Korean athletes have left Pyongyang for the Asian Games on Thursday that will take place in China, marking the first international, multisport event that North Korea has participated in since the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.

The Asian Games will take place in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8, a year after being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) did not mention the size of the team or athletes' travel routes.

North Korea closed its borders to nearly all travel in early 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and dropped out of the Tokyo Olympics due to coronavirus concerns.

In August, North Korean taekwondo athletes participated in the International Taekwon-Do Federation World Championships in Kazakhstan, the first appearance by the country's athletes at an overseas competition since the start of the pandemic.

North Korea was suspended from the International Olympic Committee until the end of 2022, missing the Beijing Winter Games, after failing to send a team to Tokyo.

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