North Korea Will Not Compete at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships

North Korea, officially The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, will not be entering a team in this year’s World Weightlifting Championships in California.

While they were previously expected to participate, Inside The Games reports that they have “passed up a chance to register its greatest sporting triumph on American soil.” Note that the DPRK did not withdraw their team — rather, they declined to enter.

The United States and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations — neither has an embassy in the other’s country — and generally, North Korean nationals have difficulty obtaining visas to enter the U.S. Over on Reddit, USA Weightlifting’s Chief Executive Officer Phil Andrews denied that this is the reason the DPRK isn’t attending:

This was not the reason, we had spent quite a good deal of time specifically making sure DPR Korea had a route to a visa.

If you’ve been following international weightlifting news closely, you might have noticed this is the second time in a little over a month that North Korea has been in the spotlight. The DPRK were slated to host the 2018 IWF Junior World Weightlifting Championships, but the IWF announced on October 1st that the competition will now be held in Uzbekistan.

North Korea’s absence adds to the long list of nations that won’t be competing in this year’s World Weightlifting Championships. While North Korea have voluntarily decided not to attend, the IWF has issued one-year suspensions to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine, countries that are home to many of the world’s top weightlifters. The suspensions, a result of positive doping retests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, took effect two weeks ago and will last for one year.

Editor’s Note: BarBend is the Official Media Partner of USA Weightlifting. Unless otherwise noted on collaborative content, the two organizations maintain editorial independence.

Featured image via @iwfnet on Instagram.

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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.