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PyeongChang 2018

Fans flock to cheer joint Korean ice hockey team

Korean fans chanting, "We are one" and wearing shirts with the unification flag emblazoned on the front packed into an ice hockey arena to cheer on the joint Korean women's team in a tune-up for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

"This is the first step, and will bring the two Koreas one step closer to peace. The perceptions of young people will change gradually," said 19-year-old Chae Hyun-min, who was waiting in line to enter the stadium.

With some 3,000 fans packed into Seonhak International Ice Rink in Incheon, the Koreans, who have only practiced together for a week, lost 3-1 to Sweden.

On 20 January, the IOC decided to allow the two National Olympic Committees (NOC), for the first time in their Olympic history, to form a unified team in a sport. This unified women’s ice hockey

team is created by adding 12 players and one official from the NOC of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the existing Republic of Korea (ROK) Olympic squad of 23 players. The game day roster will continue to be 22 and the team has to include at least three players from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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