North Korean athletes return gifts from South Korea trip, save Olympic items

AP
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North Korea’s women’s hockey team was given gifts while competing at the Division II World Championships in South Korea last week.

All of the gifts were left in South Korea, including key chains and red ginseng, except for one notable exception — stuffed animals of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games mascots, according to South Korean media.

“The North Korean athletes probably took the Olympic mascot dolls because of their symbolism,” a South Korean official said, according to JoongAng Daily. “They probably felt scared to take the other gifts.”

The North Korean women won two out of five games at the tournament and were defeated by South Korea 3-0.

They did not qualify for the PyeongChang Olympics. North Korea is likely to qualify few if any athletes across all sports.

North Korea boycotted the only other Olympics in South Korea, the 1988 Seoul Summer Games.

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