North Korean wrestlers could come to South Korea early next year for a continental competition, an official here said Thursday.
“South Korea will host the Asian Wrestling Championships from Feb. 16 to 19 next year, and there’s a high possibility that North Korea will enter the event,” an official with the Seoul-based Korea Wrestling Federation said.
South Korea was named the host of the regional event last fall at the general assembly of the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles. The host city is expected to be decided by the end of this month.
South Korean officials believe North Korea will announce its participation in the Asian event during this year’s FILA meeting in Turkey in September. Officials added that since only the countries that compete in the Asian championship can enter the regional qualifications for the 2012 London Olympics, North Korean wrestlers are likely to make the southbound trip.
Wrestlers who rank among the top six in their weight classes at the world championships this September will qualify for the London Games. Others will have to go through three stages of continental qualifications next year.
North Korea has grabbed nine Olympic medals, including three gold, in wrestling, more than any other sport.