History was made in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Saturday 10 February since the unified Korean women’s ice hockey team took on the ice to get their opening preliminary game against Switzerland.
It was the very first time that the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) had come together to field a team in the Winter Games.
The event caught the imagination of their fans, who turned up in numbers to meet with the 6,000-capacity Kwandong Hockey Centre, cheering the Korea group on from begin to finish in a game which finished in an 8-0 win to the Swiss, ranked sixth in the entire world along with the bronze medallists in Sochi 2014.
Just as they’d have liked to have seen that the newly constructed team put on the scoresheet, the consequence mattered little to the home fans, who had been only too pleased to observe both neighbouring nations connect arms and compete as one about the ice.
United in friendship
Earlier in the afternoon, Moon was encouraged by the PRK delegation for discussions in Pyongyang, paving the way for its first assembly of Korean leaders at over a decade.
The atmosphere in the arena was electric, thanks in no small part the tireless singing and choreographed motions of a troupe of DPRK cheerleaders, dressed in matching red tracksuits.
Elsewhere, fans showed their enthusiastic support for the Korea group by waving unification flags, scarves and banners and cheering loudly in the Korean targets came under threat.
The Korea group, that featured three DPRK gamers (Kim Un Hyang, Jong Su Hyon and Hwang Chung Gum), nearly took an early lead when ahead Han Soo-jin flicked a shot against the crossbar in the end of a breakaway move.
Although Alina Muller fired the Swiss to a commanding lead with four quick goals and Phoebe Staenz and Lara Stalder afterwards added two thirds, it did little to reduce sound levels or enhance the excitement of their fans, one of them Jang Sung-ho, who’d begun to watch the match with his loved ones.
“I’m really touched and good,” he explained.
“I feel blessed to observe a historical game.
This will give rise to inter-Korean peace.”
Echoing that broadly held opinion was 44-year-old office employee Oh Eun Seok, who stated: “It’s a historic match.
Following the match, Moon and both Kims went to the ice to meet and talk with the Korea group, although the cheerleaders continued to sing at the stands.
Then they posed for a group picture with the players, who were specially created white jerseys bearing a picture of a united Korean peninsula emblazoned in blue.