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Combined Koreas canoe crew claims gold in 500-meter final

Combined Koreas canoe crew claims gold in 500-meter final

Posted August. 27, 2018 08:33,   

Updated August. 27, 2018 08:33


Two minutes, 24.788 seconds. Upon crossing the finishing line faster than any others, the women’s dragon boat crew comprising of South and North Koreans, raised their paddles in extreme glee.

The Korean traditional folk song "Arirang" resonated throughout the rowing/canoe stadium at the Jakabaring Sport Complexex in South Sumatra's city of Palembang, Indonesia, when the boat crew climbed the highest spot on the winner’s podium - as agreed upon by the two Koreas.

The women boat crew attained the gold in the 500-meter final Sunday, just right after winning the bronze in the 200-meter event Saturday. The first-ever medal was won by a Combined Koreas team in international games. Needless to say, it is the first-ever gold.

Behind the bronze medal in the 200-meter stood South Korean coach Kang Geun-young, 37, who leads the women boat crew of the two Koreas. “The athletes trained for more than six hours a day in Korea, which is hotter than Palembang,” the coach said. “I am confident that the team could stay sturdy even in a long-distance race.”

Even as spending as short as 20 days training on one single team, the women crew felt as if they were family. Upon the start of the 500-meter final, the Combined Koreas team led the other five competitors. Around the 250-meter point, China chased so closely with a 0.16 second gap. However, the Korean women crew pushed harder to the final, increasing the gap with China by 2 minutes, 25.092 seconds.

Bae-Jung Kim wanted@donga.com