The two Koreas have agreed to field four unified teams at Tokyo 2020, but there are still plenty of hurdles to cross if they are to reach that goal.
While the Koreas have decided to put together joint teams in women's basketball, women's field hockey, rowing and judo,… they'll still have to survive tough qualifying rounds to compete at the Olympics.
The joint team in women's basketball won a silver medal at the Asian Games in Indonesia last year. But they will need to go through a tough multi-phase qualification process against some of the best in the world in order to earn one of the 12 spots for the Tokyo Olympics.
In field hockey, the joint team will be competing together for the first time, and will need to be in the top 14 countries to head to Tokyo this summer.
While the journey looks difficult considering the players don't know much about their teammates, expectations are high.
"I have heard North Korean players are talented, but we actually haven't seen how good they are. So if we meet together as soon as possible, I think we can form a strong squad for the upcoming competitions."
Meanwhile, the IOC also informed that it will consider further requests if these are made in due time ahead of the Olympic qualification competitions,… meaning that there is the possibility that other sporting bodies could form joint teams.
And one of the candidates,… canoeing, is hoping to recreate its gold medal performance in Indonesia last year. But when asked about why canoeing wasn't discussed last week,… one of the officials said it was due to uncertainty about the new discipline.
"The upcoming Olympics are the first time that women's canoe double is included in the competition. And I think that is why the agenda of forming a joint team in canoeing was not discussed on the table as both Koreas didn't know about the discipline very well."
If the teams all qualify for the Olympics, it would be the largest Korean joint team ever, and earning those Olympic quota places through merit will be a big achievement in itself.
Won Jung-hwan, Arirang News.