North Korea’s Olympic athletes could face the bizarre situation of working in coal mines for their dire showing in the recently concluded Rio Olympics.

The country’s dictator Kim Jong-un has warned the athletes to return with at least 17 medals before the Games.However, the athletes fell well short of their target and could only win seven medals, including two golds and they are in danger of facing the wrath of the dictator. And the athletes could even face the unfortunate prospect of losing their homes and ration cards without which they cannot afford any ration.

Expert on the secretive nation, Toshimitsu Shigemura, said: “Those who won medals will be rewarded with better housing allocations, better rations, a car and maybe other gifts from the regime.

“But Kim is going to be angry and disappointed at these results.

“Those he feels have let him down are likely to be punished by being moved to poorer quality housing, having their rations reduced and, in the worst-case scenario, being sent to the coal mines as punishment.”

North Korea’s misery is likely to compounded by bitter rivals South Korea’s brilliant performance in the games. South Korea went home with 21 medals, including nine golds.

This is not the first time that North Korean players are facing such humiliating scenarios. According to reports some of its national football team were reportedly sent to coal mines after their 7-0 thrashing by Portugal at the 2010 World Cup.

However, Kim Myong-chol, an unofficial spokesman of North Korea, told English daily The Telegraph that the Olympians may get off lightly.

“They will get a warm welcome and be treated as heroes. It was a very strong showing by the North’s athletes, even if we did not do quite as well as in London. But if you rank the results in terms of gold medals per GDP, then North Korea is close to the top of the table,” he said.

Meanwhile there are also rumours that North Korea’s Hong Un Jong who took a selfie with a South Korean athlete during the games could face death sentence.

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