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North Korea, South Korea Refuse To Walk Together At Paralympics

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Concerns were raised about attitudes towards the disabled in the volunteers training handbook for Pyeongchang 2018

North Korea was in focus as the country's first two athletes to ever compete at a Winter Paralympics paraded into the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium under their own country's flag.

"We were still negotiating right up until the very last moment".

The $106m 35,000-seater stadium, which will be pulled down after the closing ceremony, appeared to be about two thirds full, and the crowd watched a ceremony consisting of traditional Korean dance, combined with modern music and blended with light shows.

In the biathlon - which combines skiing and shooting - the Americans took gold and silver in the women's sit ski, with Kendall Gretsch coming first and Oksana Masters second.

Men's 7.5 kilometres competition of the 2018 Winter Paralympics was held at Alpensia Biathlon Centre, South Korea.

Japan complained and South Korea agreed to take the islands off the flag, while North Korea insisted that the islands stay on, according to Reuters.

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Forty-eight different nations, plus a neutral Paralympic athletes team consisting of Russian competitors, entered the stadium in -5C temperatures.

Andrew Parsons, president of the IPC, said in a statement that North Korea's presence was a pivotal moment for the Paralympic movement and that he hoped that "the focus can now be on the performances of Para athletes on the field of play, not the politics off it".

North Korean officials said they do "not accept the fact that Dokdo can not be marked due to political issues held in Korea", Reuters reported.

The first events begin on Saturday, with athletes competing in downhill skiing and biathlon.

Team Japan athletes wave miniature flags during the opening ceremony. Ultimately, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) decided that it did not want any further debate on the matter and suggested the two Koreas march separately at the Opening Ceremony.

Most of the North's Olympic athletes also had humiliating finishes, and a hastily assembled joint women's ice hockey team lost every one of its five matches, scoring just twice while conceding 28 goals.

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