SPORTS

Koreans set to march together at Athens Games

North and South Korea will march together in the opening ceremonies of the Athens Olympics and have promised to field a unified team at the Beijing Games in 2008, officials from the two longtime rivals said yesterday. The breakthrough comes as six-nation talks open in Beijing to discuss ways of easing tensions between the nations embroiled in a standoff over the North’s nuclear weapons development. Jo Sang Nam, head of North Korea’s Olympic Committee, said there was not enough time to form a joint team before the Games in Athens. Korean athletes first marched together in 2000 under a single «unification» flag at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Games. Jo said the two countries will discuss details of the joint entrance «from June.» Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, head of the Athens Organizing Committee, said she was overjoyed with the Korean decision. «The Olympic Games are an opportunity. If they can play together, if they compete together, then they can live together…» she said. The Korean Peninsula was divided into communist North and pro-Western South in 1945. They fought a 1950-53 war, which ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. The Koreas formed a single table-tennis team for a world championship in Japan in 1991 and won the women’s team title. That year, they also fielded a team for world youth soccer play. (AP)