SEOUL, Nov. 3 (Yonhap) -- North Korean youth football players who took part in an international competition in South Korea headed back home Saturday.

The North Koreans left South Korea after taking a flight at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul. They will return home via Beijing.

Following the South Korean government's approval, the 84-member North Korean delegation crossed the border on Oct. 25 to compete at the 5th Ari Sports Cup U-15 football tournament. The event, co-organized by the South-North Inter-Korean Sports Association and the North's April 25 Athletic Committee, consisted of eight teams from six countries, including China and Vietnam.

The North's delegation was led by Mun Ung, a vice-minister-level official who heads the April 25 Athletic Committee. North Korea sent three teams to the competition held in Gangwon Province and its April 25 team went on to take the title.

Some North Korean players shed tears when saying goodbye to South Korean athletes when they left their residence in Inje, Gangwon Province. North Korean officials said goodbye and hugged Gangwon Gov. Choi Moon-soon, Chuncheon Mayor Lee Jae-soo and Inje County Gov. Choi Sang-ki, who supported the tournament.

The sixth edition of the Ari Sports Cup will be held in Wonsan, North Korea, next year.

Source: Yonhap News Agency