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N. Korea expected to send more athletes to Asiad in S. Korea than planned: organizer

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) -- The chief organizer of the upcoming Asian Games in South Korea said Monday that North Korea is expected to send more athletes south of the border than it had earlier announced.

"North Korea has unofficially said it would like to dispatch more than the 150 athletes that it earlier planned to send," said Kim Young-soo, head of the organizing committee for the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon. The metropolitan city lying just west of Seoul will host the continental competition from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.

North Korea, which committed to the Asiad in May, informed the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) last month that it would send around 70 male and 80 female athletes in 14 sports.

It's slightly smaller than the North's delegation to the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, the last Asiad to be held in South Korea, when 184 North Korean athletes competed in 18 sports.

At the previous Asian Games held in Guangzhou, China, in 2010, North Korea was represented by 185 athletes in 19 sports.

The two Koreas are scheduled to hold working-level talks on Thursday at the truce village of Panmunjom, and Kim Young-soo said the size of the North Korean delegation could be determined during the talks.

Countries other than North Korea have also said they may send more athletes to Incheon than originally planned, Kim added.

"The OCA earlier projected that about 13,000 athletes and officials would participate, but the number may reach over 14,000," Kim said. "It may make our preparations difficult, but the more, the merrier for us."

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