North Korea Barred From Participating In Next Olympics
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has formally suspended North Korea from participating in the Olympic Games until at least the end of 2022, after it refused to send athletes to Tokyo 2020.
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed that the nation would be banned from participating in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics as a punishment for its decision to prevent its party of athletes from travelling over Covid-19 concerns.
‘They were violating the Olympic Charter and did not fulfil their obligation as stated in the Olympic charter to participate,’ he said in a press conference announcing the decision.
The IOC also confirmed that North Korea’s Olympic body would no longer receive money it was due from previous Olympic games, which according to The Guardian had been being held by the committee as a result of international sanctions against the country.
North Korea announced in April that it would not be sending athletes or delegates to Tokyo 2020, citing the ‘world public health crisis caused by Covid-19’. The isolated nation has reported zero Covid-19 cases, however officials are sceptical that this is the case and have warned that the country’s underdeveloped healthcare system would likely be unable to cope with an outbreak.
The suspension comes just three years after North Korea was able to use the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea to soften its international image, with its athletes parading in the opening ceremony alongside South Korean competitors under one flag.
In recent years North Korea has sent small delegations to both the winter and summer Olympics, with 10 athletes participating in Pyeongchang, and 31 athletes travelling to Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
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