PALEMBANG, Indonesia (Reuters) - The unified Korean team tasted their first success at a multi-sport event when their canoeing team won the bronze medal in women’s 200 metre dragon boat racing at the Asian Games on Saturday.
The crew clocked 56.851 seconds to finish third behind China and hosts Indonesia at the Jakabaring Rowing and Canoeing Regatta Course in Palembang, which is co-hosting the Games along with the Indonesia capital of Jakarta.
The team in the final comprised eight canoeists from North Korea and four from South. The medal was awarded to Korea, not North or South Korea.
A unified Korean team also competed at this year’s Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
“In the first place, we weren’t sure if this unified team would be formed, but I’m so happy that we won the bronze medal in the end,” captain Kim Hyeon-hee was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.
“It’s a pity that we were not able to win gold, but we’ll do our best to do better in the 500m race,” said the South Korean.
The Koreas marched together under a common flag at the opening ceremony and they have fielded joint teams in women’s basketball, rowing and canoeing.
“While others prepared for years, we just had 20 days,” team drummer To Myong-suk said.
“This is a result that showed the bravery and wisdom of Korean people by combining our hearts and goals,” added the North Korean.
Joint Korean teams will be in action in men’s and women’s 500m dragon boat racing on Sunday.
It was China’s fourth gold in traditional boat racing and the trio of Song Yanbing, Liang Liping and Huang Yi have been part of the winning team each time.
It was Indonesia’s fourth successive silver in women’s traditional boat racing.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Jakarta; editing by Ed Osmond