Table Tennis: Toriola bemoans Team Nigeria's quarter-finals exit

The sudden decision guarantees the team a medal, as a third-place match will not be held at the World Team Table Tennis Championships now under way in Sweden.

Although Kim Song-i, from North Korea, had match points against Kasumi Ishikawa, the Japanese player triumphed 11-4 6-11 11-8 11-13 16-14.

Weikert said, who added there was no external pressure to combine the Korean teams and the ITTF has informed the International Olympic Committee of the news. The joint table tennis team will be the first since the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships in Japan, when the unified women's team, led by South Korean Olympic Champion Hyun Jung-hwa and North Korea star Li Bun-hui won the gold medal.

International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) President Thomas Weikert was known to have proposed the two Koreas team up.

"(It's) an important statement to promote peace between our countries through table tennis", the South Korean team said.

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His return would be a huge welcome for Golden State, which showed some vulnerabilities in his absence. Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steph Curry may play restricted minutes starting Tuesday.

At the height of the Cold War, a group of ping pong players became the first Americans to visit Communist China, an occasion which is often credited for thawing relations between two countries that had not at that time been in contact for 22 years.

In an extremely unusual move, the women's table tennis teams for North and South Korea decided on Thursday to form a joint team ahead of their quarterfinal match at the world championships, allowing them to skip the match and advance directly to the semifinals.

Her victory completed Japan's 3-0 win against a unified Korea team.

Pingpong diplomacy is uniting North and South Korea at the table tennis world championships.

It has been a big year for the two Korean countries joining forces, after they made history by marching together in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games earlier in Pyongchang, which was the most significant sign of unity in global sport since the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships. North Korea boycotted the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Olympics, both held in Seoul.

  • Megan Austin