Asiad hosts Indonesia take first-ever rowing gold

A man passes a signage of the Asian Games in Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia August 2018. (Reuters pic)

PALEMBANG: Host nation Indonesia took its first-ever Asian Games rowing gold Friday with one team member dedicating the medal to his newborn baby that he has not yet been able to meet.

Victory in the lightweight men’s eight was the country’s ninth gold medal in the regional Olympics, bringing it only two short of its record set in 1962, the last time the nation hosted the event.

As they crossed the finish line, the team stood up in their boat, pumping their fists in the air while overjoyed supporters repeatedly chanted “Indonesia!”

One of the heroic eight, Tanzil Hadid, spoke of the personal sacrifice that he had made to get the gold round his neck.

“I dedicate this medal to my family – especially my newborn baby whom I have never met,” he told reporters.

Uzbekistan took the silver, while Hong Kong’s bronze was its second rowing medal of the day after bagging silver in the men’s lightweight single sculls.

In the day’s other six rowing races, China scooped up three more golds, bringing the giant to an all-time Asian Games gold medal tally of 1,400.

Korea and Japan took one gold each and India came first in the men’s quadruple sculls to win its second-ever rowing gold.

But the day saw an end to the symbolic rowing hopes of Unified Korea, a team combining athletes from both the North and South of the divided peninsula.

Their women’s lightweight double sculls team came in last, and the lightweight men’s eight team finished fifth out of six.