PALEMBANG -- A unified Korean men's rowing team finished last in its qualification group in its Asian Games debut on Sunday.
Kim Su-min and Park Tae-hyun from South Korea and Yun Chol-jin and Kim Chol-jin from North Korea finished last among four teams in Heat 1 of the lightweight men's four competition with a time of 7:12.74. The 2,000-meter race took place at Jakabaring Lake inside Jakabaring Sports City in Palembang, a co-host city of the 2018 Asian Games along with Jakarta.
Indonesia topped Heat 1 in 6:49.25, earning a spot in the Final A set for Thursday, with Uzbekistan, Hong Kong and Korea behind it.
China won Heat 2 over India and Vietnam to also advance to the Final A.
Countries that trailed Indonesia and China were all relegated to Tuesday's repechage, where they will take another crack at a berth to the Final A.
Korea was sixth overall among seven nations in both Heats 1 and 2, but Park said his team did better than he'd expected.
"We posted a pretty good time today, given our records in practices," he said. "Considering that we've only been training together for a short time, the result was better than expected. Our times have been improving."
The Korean rowers only got together on July 31 at a training venue in the South.
Park said Kim Chol-jin from the North is an 11-year veteran and that trying to get on the same page with the North Koreans hasn't been as difficult as he'd initially feared.
"After the race, we all talked about what went wrong today," Park said. "It's disappointing that we couldn't go straight to the final, but we'll try to win a medal through repechage."
The Koreas have also assembled two more joint teams in rowing: lightweight men's eight and women's double sculls. Elsewhere, they're competing under one flag in women's 5-on-5 basketball and dragon boat racing in canoeing. (Yonhap)