Asia

Asian Games: Unified Korea boating team win historic gold

Unified Korea team sing together with unified flag Image copyright AFP
Image caption The gold medallists sang a national folk song to celebrate their victory

The unified Korean 500m women's dragon boating team has won a gold medal in the Asian Games - the first time the north and south have combined to win top prize at a multisport competition.

Cross-border teams are also competing together in rowing and basketball events at the games.

Earlier this year they competed together in women's ice hockey at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The sporting co-operation comes amid improving political relations.

The 16-member canoeing team won the top prize on Sunday with a time of two minutes 24.788 seconds - narrowly beating China, who took silver.

Instead of a national anthem, a popular Korean folk song called Arirang was played in celebration.

Dragon boating is a traditional form of canoeing believed to have originated 2,000 years ago in China where teams of paddlers race to the rhythm of a drummer who sits at the boat's front.

On Saturday, the unified Korean women's team also scooped the bronze medal for the 200m race in the same sport.

The two Koreas marched together last Saturday at the opening ceremony in Jakarta, Indonesia.

It is only the fifth time in history that North and South Korea have set joint teams to international sporting competitions - previously co-operating in two events in 1991.

Joint teams have previously taken the gold at table tennis competitions in 1991 and 2018 - but Sunday's medal is the first time they won an event together at a major mixed sport competition.

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