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Unified Korea makes historic debut at men’s handball world championship

Date : 11 Jan 2019

Berlin, Germany, January 10, 2019: The unified Korean men's handball team fell to Germany 30-19 in its historic world championship debut in Berlin on Thursday, reports Yonhap News.

Korea put up a good fight but proved no match against the world No. 1 Germany at the International Handball Federation (IHF) Men's Handball World Championship at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin. Germany and Denmark are co-hosts of the tournament, which wraps up on January 27.

In Thursday's pre-game ceremony, Korea marched in behind the Korea Unification Flag, which features the Korean Peninsula in blue against a white background. The players were cheered on by dozens of supporters in T-shirts showing the same image.

Also in the opening, the traditional Korean folk song "Arirang" was played in place of the national anthem by either Korea.

Also in attendance on this historic occasion was the Director General of the Olympic Council of Asia, Mr. Husain Al Musallam.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and IOC President Thomas Bach attended the opening match. They were joined by Chey Tae-won, head of the Korea Handball Federation, and Lee Kee-heung, President of the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee.

Head coach Cho Young-shin praised his players for their fighting spirit.

"Honestly, there was a lot of pressure for us to play against the world's top team Germany in the opening match but I told the players that we should give a meaningful performance to the crowd here with our joint effort.

"We had a short period of time to build our teamwork but we tried our best," he added. "Even though we were the underdogs our players weren't intimidated by the opponents. I want to praise our players for that.”

Korea is in Group A with Germany (world No. 1), Russia (world No. 4), France (No. 5), Serbia (No. 6) and Brazil (No. 27). South Korea is No. 19, and North Korea isn't ranked.

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