Asian Games: China breaks all-Korean hearts in women’s basketball thriller
China dashed the Unified Korea’s hopes of an emotional women’s basketball gold medal when they won a tense final, 71-65, at the Asian Games on Saturday.
Lim Yung-hui top-scored with 24 points in a losing cause as China pulled away from 38-38 at half-time before holding off the Koreans in the final quarter.
Park Ji-su was tearful after the game as the Korean team, featuring players from both sides of the heavily fortified Korean border, came up short.
“As a player… I am disappointed,” Park said, breaking into tears.
“All our team-mates played very well. It was a close game,” she added, while sobbing.
Her team-mate Lim Yung-hui and coach Lee Moon-kyu said the squad, which only came together days before the Games, hadn’t had enough time to practise together.
“We could have got a gold medal… we tried our best,” Lim said.
The Koreans were supported throughout the tournament by vocal fans brandishing blue and white Korean unification flags and wearing “One Corea” T-shirts.
Despite the loss, the Korean fans were still celebrating after the match, waving their flags and applauding the players.
The two Koreas marched together at the opening ceremony and also formed joint teams in canoeing, in which they won a gold and two bronze medals.
It follows similar gestures at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which set the stage for an unprecedented thaw in relations between the two countries still technically at war.