Table Tennis Engagement in North Korea: 

International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Challenge Series 2017: Pyongyang Open

August 3rd to 8th 2017

6 Days / 5 Nights

Beijing | Pyongyang | Kaesong| DMZ | Beijing


This exclusive Table Tennis Sports Engagement event is organized in cooperation with the DPRK Ministry of Sport, the Table Tennis Association of the DPRK, the ITTF and Paektu Cultural Exchange.  In addition to attending and participating in the ITTF 2017 Challenge Series : Pyongyang Open (August 2nd to 6th 2017), we have special permission to train and participate in a number of interactive workshops, activities, and demonstrations involving amateur, professional and para-Olympic athletes from North Korea. The ITTF Pyongyang Open will feature the whole range of participant categories including men’s, women’s and mixed singles and doubles for both under and over 21 years of age. Table Tennis has gained a lot of attention and popularity in the country since DPRK’s 2013 gold medal win at the World Championships in France by Kim Jong-Won and Kim Hyok-Bong. Participants will also have the opportunity to meet, chat and play with the tournament’s champions. We will visit the country’s top attractions and learn more about this unique and often misunderstood country. This is a rare opportunity, especially considering the recent cancellation of the Judo World Junior Championships, which was scheduled in Pyongyang, due to international pressure and sanctions.  This delegation is accompanied by PCE’s director Michael Spavor.

View Event Press Release

  Social Responsibility: A portion of your delegation fees goes to support our Rural Education Initiative: Project Samjiyon, which donates basic school supplies and educational materials to rural elementary schools in northern Kanggye and Chagang provinces to support early childhood education in less fortunate regions of the country. This is a joint project between Paektu Cultural Exchange and our ministry-level DPRK government partner. All donated materials are non-sanctioned goods and designed to benefit primary school children.

✪  Your Guide: This journey will be led by Michael Spavor, who has met Marshal Kim Jong Un on multiple occasions and is the individual responsible for taking former NBA superstar Dennis Rodman to the DPRK. Michael arranges delegations to trade fairs, investment seminars, international sports and cultural events to the DPRK and has two decades of experience living in the region and is fluent in the North Korean dialect. He will accompany the group and conduct interactive discussions to offer his insight and experience as well share some fascinating and humorous anecdotes along the way.

Paektu Cultural Exchange utilizes its high-level contacts with government officials and more than 20 years of relationships or “Gwan Gye” (Kr:관계, Cn:关系) to organize unique and special meetings, opportunities and activities on this program which would not otherwise be possible.

Awards ceremony at the ITTF 2016 event in Pyongyang. © 《조선의 오늘》

About the ITTF Challenge Series 2017: Pyongyang Open

The International Table Tennis Federation’s (ITTF) 2017 Challenge Series will include 5 days of action including 2 days of qualifications and 3 days of round-robins. The Challenge Series is separate from the World Tour and will be featured in 11 locations including Belarus, Thailand, Chile, Slovenia, Croatia, Brazil, DPRK, Nigeria, Poland, Belgium and Spain. The minimum prize money being awarded to the participants totals $35 000 (USD), ensuring that the competition will be fierce and keep the audience equally excited.

✪  Who Should Attend

  • Everyone is welcome to attend (except journalists and ROK nationals)
  • Fans of table tennis and anyone interested in taking part in a unique sports engagement event
  • Individuals and academics interested in learning more about the politics, culture, economics and history of the DPRK
  • Those interested in seeing and experiencing the DPRK to develop their own first-hand knowledge, opinions and understanding
  • Those who want to meet the top DPRK table tennis athletes

Table Tennis at the Ryugyong Indoor Ice Rink in Pyongyang. DPRK. Photo by Omid Scheybani


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