A Joint North and South Korea women's rowing team won a historic medal at the Asian Games in Indonesia on Saturday (25th August). They competed in the women's 200m dragon boat race. They came in at third place to take the bronze medal. The medal was not awarded to either North Korea or South Korea, but to Korea only. The unified team made a good effort and managed to get through the semi-finals with a time of with a time of 57.362. In the finals they managed a better time of 56.681, English Yonhap News reported.

Unified Korean women's team rowed in the 200m Dragon Boat race

The women's team who rowed in the Dragon Boat race included 12 athletes. There were five North and seven South Koreans in the team. According to Agence France Press, the Korean team "came in behind China and hosts Indonesia." They also noted that during the opening ceremony last week, the joint teams marched under a unified flag which was carried high by "South Korean women's basketball player Lim Yung-hui and North Korean footballer Ju Kyong Chol."

The Dragon Boat race is not something readers from the western world may be familiar with.

This is because it's a traditional canoeing boat race. The boat is long and quite narrow. A person stands at the back to steer the vessel and a drummer sits up front to beat out the time for the rowers.

North and South Korea finding unity in sports

The unified teams of South and North Korean athletes arose after moves by South Korea to engage with Jim Jong-un.

The North Korean President, Kim Jong-un was open to the idea of competing as one country. When a unified team first appeared at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the world became aware that something special was happening. It seemed sport had done something that negotiations and table-thumping had failed to achieve. Sport appeals to national pride and both countries could be proud of their teams.

Since the debut of the unified ice hockey team, there is a basketball team and now the rowing teams. For the teams at the Asian Games in Indonesia, there are more chances to pick up medals ahead. While the men didn't win a medal on Saturday, there's another chance for them in the 1000m race on Sunday. The women will also compete in the 500m race.

For the competitors who took home a bronze medal, they can stand tall knowing their sport is helping to bring peace to the two Koreas. Those from the South were named as:

  • Kang Cho-hee
  • Lee Ye-rin
  • Choi Yu-seul
  • Jang Hyun-jung
  • Byun Eun-jeong
  • Jo Min-ji, and
  • Kim Hyeon-hee.

The athletes from the North were Jong Ye-song, Ho Su-jung, Cha Un-yong, Cha Un-gyong and Hyun Jae-chan. Perhaps in the future, the world will see the two nations set aside their differences just as the ancients did when they laid down their arms to participate in the original Olympics.