The year of zeal for sports

The zeal for sporting activities has heated up unprecedentedly throughout the year.

Most attractive were the premier league soccer competitions.

At the men’s first-division football competition held in February as part of the Paektusan Prize Games, the Hwaeppul team, second placer at last year’s national championships, came first and the Amnokgang team which stayed under the eighth place as of 2015 advanced to the fourth placer.

The local power April 25 recovered from the defeat at the Paektusan Prize Games and won the Mangyongdae Prize Games, and the Kigwancha’s male team moved from under the eighth place up to the second one by making painstaking efforts to retrieve its former position.

The first-division football competition of the Pochonbo Torch Prize Games served as a good occasion for assessing the ability of each team. It is because most teams have undergone a big change in the composition of players after the Mangyongdae Prize Games. The Amnokgang which came out fourth and eighth respectively at the Paektusan and Mangyongdae prize games won the top honour, with the Sobaeksu that stopped at the ninth place at last year’s Pochonbo Torch Prize Games finishing runner-up and the Kigwancha coming third. However, the Hwaeppul which was triumphant at the Osandok and Paektusan prize games slipped into fourth place, showing noticeable changes in the rankings of elite teams.

The 13th People’s Games climaxed this year’s sports tournaments.

The Kigwancha team won the men’s soccer of the professional division beyond expectation, followed by the April 25 and the Amnokgang.

Experts attributed the unpredictable rankings to intensive activities of teams to win victory, saying that progress is made through fierce competitions.

Mass sporting activities conducted at ubiquitous sports parks in streets and villages on weekends and holidays were one of the conspicuous scenes this year.

This year’s mass sports calendar started with the national housewives games held to commemorate the 106th anniversary of International Women’s Day. The tournament, which involved volleyball, table tennis and other events, attracted public attention for the scoring scenes as thrilling as those by professionals and the enthusiastic rooting.

At the national games of workers for celebrating the Day of Songun, the Capital City Construction Commission won the first place, and the Pyongyang Municipality and the Ministry of Railways finished runners-up respectively. The Pyongyang Medical College Hospital of Kim Il Sung University and the Academy of Koryo Medicine came first in the total rankings at the 4th contest of the public health sector.

This year’s mass sports produced unexpected results in some events.

In the mass sports division of the 13th People’s Games North Phyongan Province won the soccer event, while in the ssirum (Korean wrestling) event South Hwanghae and Jagang provinces beat Pyongyang, which had not conceded the first place, as well as North Phyongan Province that has been noted for the production of ssirum aces.

At the yearend civil servants’ soccer tournament, the Radio-Television Broadcasting Committee of the DPRK swept to victory.

Korean players won the recent FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in the wake of the victory at the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup to brilliantly adorn this year and these signal successes stoked up the enthusiasm of both players and people for sports.

By Yun Kyong Il PT