Para-athletes from North and South Korea marched together under a single flag for the first time at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Para Games in Indonesia on Saturday, October 6.
Participants from the two Koreas walked under the unified Korean flag with the image of a blue Korean Peninsula at Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in the city. This is the first time in the history of para-athletics that the two Korean countries held a joint parade, Yonhap News Agency reported.
South Korean wheelchair fencer Kim Sun-mi and North Korean swimmer Sim Sung-Hyok were the joint flag bearers of the ceremony. While Sim held the flag, Kim gently pushed his wheelchair.
Chief of South Korea's Korea Paralympic Committee (KPC) Lee Myung-ho and North Korea's Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled (KFPD) Kim Mun-Chol were seen holding hands during the joint march at the opening ceremony. The KPC said that 154 South Korean athletes and 20 North Koreans took part in the joint parade.
While North and South Korea will participate in different events, the two Korean nations have fielded unified teams to compete in men's table tennis team competition and the men's swimming freestyle relay and medley relay events. Athletes, who will win the medal, will be awarded under the banner of "Korea" and not South or North Korea.
The two Koreas had agreed to march together at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang in South Korea in March, but the plan was shelved at the last minute.
However, both sides jointly walked during the 2018 Asian Games in August and 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February. The Asian Para Games will run till October 13.