The Korea Herald


All-S. Korean taekwondo demonstration team performs in Pyongyang

By Yonhap

Published : Oct. 31, 2018 - 21:50

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World Taekwondo (WT)'s all-South Korean taekwondo demonstration team on Wednesday gave an energetic performance in Pyongyang, delivering a message of peace and unification.

The team, comprised of 18 South Korean taekwondo practitioners and four supporting staffs, had a one hour performance in front of some 2,300 North Koreans who packed Taekwondo Hall in Pyongyang.

This was the first time since April that the Seoul-based WT demonstration team performed in the North Korean capital. Then, the demonstration team showed its taekwondo moves following a concert by a South Korean art troupe on April 1 and had joint performance with North Koreans two days later.

The latest performance of the WT demonstration team was attended by WT President Choue Chung-won, International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) President Ri Yong-son and Choe Hwi, chairman of the North's National Sports Guidance Committee.

The theme of the performance was "Dumulmeori," which means "two water area" in Korean. It refers to the place where the Bukhan River and Namhan River meet. Seo Mi-sook, the WT demonstration team director, said the team wanted to emphasize the divided Korean peninsula and show that taekwondo practiced on the two sides were both born from the same root.

With South Korean taekwondo athletes showcasing their skills and powerful movements, North Koreans welcomed them with cheers and gave standing ovations.

The atmosphere reached its peak when the taekwondo practitioners performed with "Hand in Hand," the official song for the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, playing as background music. After the team's final board-breaking performance, a banner with the written message "Wishing for peace," was shown and North Koreans gave another standing ovation to the South Korean performers.

"Looks like they prepared a lot in such a short time," a North Korean official, who also watched the WT demonstration team performance in April, said.

South Korean taekwondo practitioners said they were satisfied with North Koreans' avid support.

"Now, I feel relieved," said Choi Han-na, who also performed in Pyongyang in April. "Last time, (the North Koreans) didn't really smile, but this time, they gave us a lot of support, so we got more energy."

World Taekwondo`s all-South Korean taekwondo demonstration team performs at Taekwondo Hall in Pyongyang on Oct. 31, 2018. (Yonhap) World Taekwondo`s all-South Korean taekwondo demonstration team performs at Taekwondo Hall in Pyongyang on Oct. 31, 2018. (Yonhap)

The all-South Korean demonstration team is scheduled to stage a joint performance with North Korea's ITF taekwondo demonstration team on Friday at the same venue. The WT and ITF teams will take the stage for 25 minutes each and will have a five-minute joint performance after that.

"I've never thought I would meet ITF taekwondo demonstration team members, but now I'm here in Pyongyang," Choi said. "I think I'll be able to have friendly greetings with them."

The demonstration team is part of the 49-member WT delegation led by Choue. The delegation will leave Pyongyang on Saturday. (Yonhap)