x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Two Koreas get on fine at Asian Games

With political tensions escalating, athletes from South and North Korea stood side by side and shook hands on the Asian Games medal podium.

North Korea’s Yang Kyong-Il, left, and South Korea’s  Kim Hyosub, right, at medal ceremony.
North Korea’s Yang Kyong-Il, left, and South Korea’s Kim Hyosub, right, at medal ceremony.

With political tensions escalating, athletes from South and North Korea stood side by side and shook hands on the Asian Games medal podium yesterday just hours after a military skirmish on an island near their disputed western border.

And with the Games, which bring together more than 10,000 athletes from 45 countries, set to end Saturday, an Olympic Council of Asia official appealed to athletes from both sides to keep competing in Guangzhou, China.

South Korea's Yun Ok-hee won the women's individual archery gold medal, beating China's Cheng Ming in the final. Kwon Un Sil of North Korea won bronze in the same event, meaning the Korean pair had to share the podium.

The scenario was similar in the men's freestyle 55-kilogram wrestling, in which North Korea's Yang Kyong-Il won silver the South Korea's Kim Hyosub was one of two bronze medalists.

At the archery medal ceremony, Yun and Kwon shook hands before Yun accepted the gold medal.

At a later news conference, both were asked about the escalating tensions in their homelands.

"We are supposed to get questions relevant to the competition only, I have no comment whatsoever," Yun said through an interpreter. "I do not care about such a situation between South Korea and North Korea."

Kwon said she was unaware of the military events.

"I just try to do my best in my performance. I don't pay attention to, or care about the situation," said Kwon, also speaking through a translator.

"My goal at this Asian Games, and my only goal, was to win the gold medal.

Elsewhere yesterday, China's divers won both gold medals on offer, led by Chen Ruolin and Wang Hao, the Olympic champions, who won the women's synchronised 10 -metre platform event.

The pairing of Qin Kai and Luo Yutong won the men's synchronised 3m springboard.

Li Yanfeng also won gold for China in the women's discus. Li threw a season's best of 66.18 metres with teammate Song Aimin, the defending champion, taking the silver (64.04) and India's Commonwealth Games champion Krishna Poonia (61.94) the bronze.

Bahrain's Kenyan-born Tareq Mubarak Taher defended his 3,000m steeplechase title, clocking a time of 8mins 25.89secs, with Qatar's Kenyan-born Thamer Kamal taking silver and Ali al-Amri of Saudi Arabia claiming bronze.

* Agencies

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