The Korea Herald


Korean canoe body looking to team up with N. Koreans at Asian Games

By Yonhap

Published : April 30, 2018 - 10:28

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The South Korean canoe governing body said Monday it will look to team up with North Korea at this year's Asian Games in Indonesia.

The Korean Canoe Federation said it will try to form a unified Korean team in the traditional boat race, commonly known as a dragon boat race, which will be one of three canoe disciplines at the Aug. 18-Sept. 2 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia.

The federation noted that both Koreas can start from scratch, since they don't have any full-time dragon boat paddlers.

"Even if we form a joint team, it won't come at the expense of any South Korean athletes," the federation said. "And we don't have to ask the Olympic Council of Asia for any changes regarding the competition format or the size of the team. We can assemble a unified Korean team swiftly."

This undated file photo provided by the Korean Canoe Federation on April 30, shows paddlers in action in a dragon boat race. (Yonhap) This undated file photo provided by the Korean Canoe Federation on April 30, shows paddlers in action in a dragon boat race. (Yonhap)

The KCF also said it will try to schedule open practice sessions on either side of the border -- at the Han River in the South and the Daedong River in the North.

Prior to the historic inter-Korean summit last Friday, the South Korean sports ministry did a preliminary survey on national sports federations to gauge their interest in joint teams at the Asian Games. The KCF was one of seven federations to show a willingness to combine athletes from the two Koreas and has already come up with specific plans.

After their summit, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un issued a joint declaration in which they said the two Koreas would "demonstrate their collective wisdom, talents and solidarity by jointly participating in international sports events, such as the 2018 Asian Games."

Dragon boat has only been contested at one previous Asian Games, the 2010 competition in Guangzhou, China. South Korea won bronze in the men's 1,000 meters, even though the team was a motley crew of paddlers in other disciplines who only trained together for one month.

The KCF claimed it has been preparing for a joint Korean team at the Asian Games since last year, and it has already won support from International Canoe Federation President Jose Perurena and Asia Canoe Federation President Shoken Narita. (Yonhap)