Seoul ( AsiaNews) - For the first time in 12 years, North Korea has no representative at the Olympic Winter Games . This year's edition will open in Sochi, Russia , on 7 February. The Organizing Committee have entered only " Korea" on the list of participating nations, confirming that no athlete from the North will be present at the event.
North Korea's exclusion is explained by the failure of any of it's' athletes to qualify for in winter sports. But the Sochi Olympic Committee adds that the Pyongyang regime was not even granted the "wild card" facilitated entry for developing or under-developed nations, invented to promote the participation of lesser equipped or poorer countries in the sporting event.
In any case, it seems that the North Korean government wants to send Kim Yong-nam (the " head of state", whose office is purely ceremonial) to the opening celebrations all the same. It is unclear whether the Russian government will accept, given that traditionally only the Heads of State and Government of the nations represented in that edition take part in the opening of the Games.
The absence of North Korea is another wake-up call for the general situation of North Korea. Founded on principles of self-sufficiency, the regime led by Kim Jong-un has always given much weight to sports, celebrating the victorious athletes as "heroes of the Revolution". In the Juche doctrine (elaborated by the father of the nation Kim Il-sung ) , the question of sport is seen as "crucial" to affirming the "great results" obtained from national sport's education at an international level.
Along with soldiers and scientists, athletes are considered "first rank citizens" and get the best of everything to be found in North Korea, from food to clothing and medicines.