North Korea was discussed at the IOC Executive Board here today ©Getty Images

A new programme to deliver additional support to North Korean athletes competing at major events is being finalised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), it was revealed here today.

The plan has yet been completed but was discussed during the opening part of the IOC Executive Board meeting here today.

The IOC are continuing to try to capitalise on the participation of North Korean athletes alongside those from the South at the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in February. 

Support provided by Olympic Solidarity for a 12-strong North Korean team at the current World Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad was described as a "blueprint".

"What was also discussed was a new programme set up to help athletes from DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea] after the successful participation of athletes there [in Pyeongchang]," IOC Presidential spokesperson Mark Adams said here.

"To try and support them, within the United Nations sanctions, in future participation and just this week a team of athletes from DPRK are participating with our help at the Table Tennis World Championships in Sweden.

"We have already helped with travel cost and accommodation.

"This is the blueprint for what Olympic Solidarity are trying to do,

"Putting together a plan and hoping to put together details in the near future."

Cha Hyo Sim is among North Koreans being supported by the IOC at the World Table Tennis Championships ©Getty Images
Cha Hyo Sim is among North Koreans being supported by the IOC at the World Table Tennis Championships ©Getty Images

When asked whether North Korea was getting special treatment, Adams claimed that they are not, but that the situation demanded extra attention.

"Olympic Solidarity carry this out on dozens and dozens of countries," he added.

"Extending similar programmes for those countries to compete in events.

"This is along the same line but we are pointing out this specific aspect with Asian Games [in Jakarta Palembang this year] and regional Olympics [in Tokyo for 2020 and in Beijing for 2022]."

North Korea are far from the poorest country competing at the Olympic Games.

A United Nations list ranking Gross Domestic Product for 2017 puts then 113th out of 207 countries or territories listed.

The IOC have also not yet offered support for the Pakistan table tennis barred from leaving the country to participate at the World Championships.

Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency prevented the men's and women's teams from leaving the country because, reportedly, they did not possess the necessary documentation from the Interior Ministry.

They have forfeited all their matches.

North Korea athletes marched alongside those from the South at the Pyeongchang 2018 Opening Ceremony and, for the first time ever, they played side-by-side as part of a unified Korean women's ice hockey team.