North, South Korea women's TT teams unite

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The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) announced subsequently that the two teams from the Korean Peninsula had made a decision to merge into one. "And so I still can't believe we have the joint team on our hand".

It is the first unified Korean team in 27 years, since the World Table Tennis Championships in Chiba, Japan in 1991, where they won the gold medal.

Word of the agreement had reached players on Tuesday, but a member of the South Korean team, Yang Ha Eun said the athletes were poised for their quarterfinal clash until the agreement was confirmed.

In a statement the International Table Tennis Federation said it had approved the decision for the team to unite for a semi-final on Friday (today) after both sides opted against playing their quarter-final. The South Korean players are: Jeon Ji-hee, Kim Ji-ho, Suh Hyo-won, Yang Ha-eun and Yoo Eun-chong.

In this EPA photo, table tennis officials pose for pictures with the image of the Korean Peninsula after a press conference on May 3, 2018, during the World Team Table Tennis Championships at Halmstad Arena in Halmstad, Sweden, where the South Korean and North Korean women's teams were combined before their quarterfinals match.

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The combined Korean team advanced to semifinal automatically.

The KTTA said it would like to see both Koreas retain their allotted roster spots- two players for each the men's and women's singles, two teams each in the mixed doubles and five players in the team event, even if they combine their teams. The players from the two Koreas will, however, continue wearing their own country's uniform.

South Korea's Suh Hyo-won (left) and North Korea's Kim Nam-hae play an exhibition game in Halmstad, Sweden on Thursday.

It has been a big year for the two Korean countries joining forces, after they made history by marching together in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games earlier in Pyongchang, which was the most significant sign of unity in worldwide sport since the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships. A joint declaration issued after their historic encounter stated that the two sides "agreed to demonstrate their collective wisdom, talents and solidarity by jointly participating in worldwide sports events, such as the 2018 Asian Games".