SPORTS

Unified Korean canoeing team wins gold in women's 500m dragon boat racing

By Yonhap
  • Published : Aug 26, 2018 - 17:03
  • Updated : Aug 26, 2018 - 19:12

PALEMBANG, (Yonhap) -- The unified Korean canoeing team continued its historic run at the 18th Asian Games as it grabbed the gold medal in women's 500-meter dragon boat racing on Sunday.

The 16-member dragon boat racing team clocked 2 minutes, 24.788 seconds in the women's canoeing traditional boat race to finish first among six contestants at the Jakabaring Rowing & Canoeing Regatta Course in Palembang, Indonesia, the co-host city of the Asian Games with Jakarta. China won silver at 2:25.092, while Thailand took bronze at 2:26.904.

The unified Korean canoeing team competes in the women's 500-meter dragon boat racing competition at the 18th Asian Games at the Jakabaring Rowing & Canoeing Regatta Course in Palembang, Indonesia, the co-host city of the Asian Games with Jakarta, on Sunday. (Yonhap)

This was the second medal won by a joint Korean team at an international multi-sport competition. The women's team on Saturday earned bronze in the 200m dragon boat racing.

The medal doesn't count to either South Korea nor North Korea in the Asian Games medal standings. Instead, it will be awarded to "Korea."

It will be the first time that "Arirang," Korea's most popular folk song, will be played at a medal ceremony at the Asian Games.

South and North Korea have so far sent joint teams to six international sports competitions -- the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships, 1991 FIFA World Youth Championship, 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championship, 2018 ITTF Korea Open and 2018 Asian Games.

Combined teams won gold medals in the women's team event at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships and in mixed doubles at the 2018 ITTF Korea Open, but the latest victory marks the first time they joined forces to win gold at a multi-sport competition.

The women's team stormed into the finals by taking first-place finishes in the qualifying round and in the semifinals.

The South and the North sent eight canoers each to compete in the final. They reached the halfway point at 1:12.23, 0.16 second faster than China, and went on to grab the historic gold.

The canoers from South Korea were Hyun Jae-chan, Kang Cho-hee, Lee Ye-rin, Choi Yu-seul, Jang Hyun-jung, Byun Eun-jeong, Jo Min-ji and Kim Hyeon-hee. Those from the North were To Myong-suk, Yun Un-jong, Ri Hyang, Kim Su-hyang, Jong Ye-song, Ho Su-jong, Cha Un-yong and Cha Un-gyong.

South and North Korea previously agreed to form joint teams in women's basketball, rowing and canoeing at the Asian Games in Indonesia.

Among the canoeing disciplines, the South and North teamed up in dragon boat racing and decided to send one team in the men's and the women's 200m and 500m, as well as the men's 1,000m.

The men's team, meanwhile, finished seventh in the 500m event. The Korean men finished fourth in their semifinal group with a time of 2:16.416 and failed to reach the grand final, where six teams compete for gold.

The men's team also finished seventh in the 200m on Saturday. It will have one more chance to medal as the 1,000m will be held on Monday.

Dragon boat racing is a canoeing sport where a long and narrow boat is powered by a team of paddlers, a drummer and a steerperson. The drummer sits in the front of the boat to provide a beat to help paddlers stay in rhythm, while the steerperson stands in the back and guides the boat.