Indonesia 2018: Historic night for Unified Korean Team

First-time competitors win medal on thrilling night in the pool 08 Oct 2018
three male Para swimmers celebrate at the edge of the pool

The Unified Korean Team celebrated more than just history as they took bronze in the men's 4x100m freestyle relay 34 points

By Jane Jones | For the IPC and APC

Day two of the swimming competition at the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games was packed full of drama, with Asian records tumbling, Indonesian athletes on the podium and the historic Unified Korean Team competing together for the first time at a Para sport event.


China’s Yang Hong set the tone in only the third race of the night when he broke both the Asian and Games record in spectacular fashion. His time of 1:21.23 was over six seconds faster than his qualifying time and knocked an incredible 4.34 seconds of the Asian record in the men’s 100m Breaststroke SB6.


Straight after team mate Song Ling Ling did the same in the women’s event (women’s 100m breaststroke SB6 (4-6)). She broke her own Asian record set in the test event, recording a time of 1:46.07.


With several Indonesian athletes competing the atmosphere steadily built, until Pangabean Jendi gave the crowd what they were looking for with a bronze medal in the men’s 100m freestyle S9.


The home crowd went from excitement to ecstasy when 17-year-old Indriani Syuci took gold in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB14.


Speaking after the race, Syuci said: “I present this medal for Indonesia, I am so happy with the result and I thank God that I can be the champion this time, and also my parents always support me. Maybe I will give my bonus to bring my parents to Mecca.


“All my enemies are strong, they don't have weakness, but they need to be more focussed during the race. That's why I won because I stayed focussed during the race.”


The grand finale of the evening was the relay – and it did not disappoint.


The Unified Korean Team were competing in the men’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay 34 points – the first time North and South Korea have competed together at a Para sport event.


They comfortably held third place on every leg while Japan and China battled it out for gold. Japan touched in first place, China in second with the Unified Korean Team in third.


But the drama did not end there. Japan were then disqualified, pushing the Korea team into second for a brief time. However, after a protest Japan were reinstated and the Unified Korean Team were awarded bronze on a memorable night.