North Korean Ice Hockey Player Who Defected Lauds Effort of Joint Women’s Team

February 26, 2018 - Soccer Balls

A North Korean women’s ice hockey actor who defected in 1997 was flooded with memories of her tough sports training as she watched a group from North and South Korea movement by their Olympic matches progressing this month.

Speaking with VOA Korea after a team’s fifth and final detriment progressing this week, Hwangbo Young lauded a bid it took a blended group to come together to play as a singular force, given that they began practicing together reduction than a month before a Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

“I sensed that a group wasn’t means to entirely denote what a players prepared,” Hwangbo said. “I listened that during practice, a North Korean players were visibly really enthusiastic and wanted to learn from a South Korean players.”

Fans hearten a total Koreas group after a sequence turn of a women's hockey diversion opposite Sweden during a 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Feb. 20, 2018. Sweden won 6-1.

Fans hearten a total Koreas group after a sequence turn of a women’s hockey diversion opposite Sweden during a 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Feb. 20, 2018. Sweden won 6-1.

Neither a North Korean nor a South Korean group was a critical award contender, though Hwangbo pronounced a total group did improved than approaching in matches, that finished Tuesday.

“I suspicion they would remove all games by double digits,” Hwangbo told VOA during an talk in Seoul after a team’s final detriment on Tuesday. “But they did improved than we initial expected, nonetheless they mislaid all matches.”

Overcoming differences

For a initial time in Olympic history, a dual divided Koreas fielded a corner women’s ice hockey group with 23 players from a South and 12 from a North. The pierce was seen as a assent beginning led by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

North Korea and South Korea separate after Japan, that assigned Korea, surrendered to finish World War II.

FILE - North Korean fugitive Hwangbo Young shows cinema of her friends taken in North Korea, Jun 17, 2003, in Seoul, South Korea. Hwangbo, 24, a earnest teenage ice hockey player, transient North Korea's mercantile turn in 1997 to settle with her family in South Korea.

FILE – North Korean fugitive Hwangbo Young shows cinema of her friends taken in North Korea, Jun 17, 2003, in Seoul, South Korea. Hwangbo, 24, a earnest teenage ice hockey player, transient North Korea’s mercantile turn in 1997 to settle with her family in South Korea.

Although Hwangbo hopes to see her kin and friends who sojourn in North Korea, she doubts if corner will start in her lifetime and doesn’t design that to change since of a joined hockey team.

She forked out that notwithstanding a similar, progressing bid — a united list tennis team of South Korean Hyun Jung-hwa and North Korean Li Pun Hui that played in a 1991 World Championship in Chiba, Japan — there are still dual Koreas.

At a rink, melding a teams meant overcoming differences in training and approaches to diet, and building group spirit. Off a rink, there was criticism that sports was being used as a domestic tool.

“With all that happened to them, before to a Olympics, for them to come together like this and contest like this in a Olympics, it’s remarkable,” Sarah Murray, a Canadian who coached a South Koreans, and afterwards a corner team.

Now coaching in South Korea, Hwangbo watched a games, that evoked memories of her training in North Korea. After her family’s desertion dual decades ago, she also competed opposite a North Korean group in a 2003 Aomori Asian Winter Games as a South Korean player.

Her training in North Korea was tough, Hwangho recalled, really tough. There were prolonged runs with weights, there were runs in a plateau — though there were no ice rinks.

“Unless H2O was poured over solidified belligerent to solidify into ice in a wintertime, we had to do all a tactical training on unclothed belligerent with soccer balls, volleyballs and basketballs,” she said.

Former North Korean ice hockey actor Hwangbo Young coaches an ice hockey category for children during an ice course in Seoul, Apr 4, 2017.

Former North Korean ice hockey actor Hwangbo Young coaches an ice hockey category for children during an ice course in Seoul, Apr 4, 2017.

Start in hockey

Hwangbo, a daughter of dual supervision workers, started personification hockey as a 12-year-old and was recruited by a manager from a North Korean inhabitant team.

“At a time, we didn’t know what ice hockey was,” she said. “I only began since we favourite sports. During gym category in school, a manager asked if we wanted to play in an ice hockey team. we pronounced ‘yes’ but meaningful what it was, since we favourite personification sports. Later, we found out we pronounced approbation to ice hockey.”

In 1997, Hwangbo and her family boarded a tiny vessel and crossed a Tuman River, North Korea’s northern border, into China before settling in South Korea.

Three years after her defection, she began personification for South Korea’s inhabitant ice hockey team and became a member of a group that played opposite a North Korean group in a 2003 Aomori Asian Winter Games in Japan. North Korea finished fourth and South Korea fifth.

Hwangbo has pronounced that confronting a North Korean group in Aomori was one of a many unpleasant practice of her life.

The initial fad of saying some of her former teammates after 7 years dissolute as they taunted her as a hypocrite via a game, even hurling insults when she approached them for a handshake after a game.

But she pronounced she accepted their antagonism, since any signs of regard toward her could have resulted in severe punishment when a group returned to North Korea.

More soccer ...

› tags: Soccer Balls /