Taiwan readies for 2012 London Olympics

Ma Ying-jeou rallies the nation’s Olympic athletes by waving the ROC Olympic flag July 19 in Kaohsiung City.

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou said July 19 that Taiwan’s athletes are fully prepared for the Summer Olympic Games in London and will honor Taiwan and themselves with best-ever performances.

“Sporting achievement is part of national competitiveness,” Ma said. “The London games will be a great chance for our athletes to display their wares while promoting the country abroad.”

The president made the remarks during a flag-presentation ceremony at the National Sports Training Center in southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City. The center has been home to top athletes from around the island for the past two years as they sweated and strained for the opportunity to represent the ROC at the Olympics.

A total of 44 athletes from around Taiwan will contest 14 sports at the London games—almost half the number that went to Beijing in 2008. The reduced representation is due to the International Olympic Committee’s decision to take baseball and softball out of lineup.

“The 2012 team stands out for several achievements already,” Ma said. “For the first time, our badminton players will contest all five events, Hsu Jo-ting will vie for a female fencing medal and Chang Hao will be the first locally trained athlete to compete in an Olympic sailing contest.”

The president also expressed his gratitude to the more than 50 administrative, coaching and medical staff accompanying the team.

According to the Sports Affairs Council, ROC athletes are expected to medal in archery, badminton, taekwondo and weightlifting.

Since the 1984 Los Angeles games, Taiwan has participated in the Olympics under the name of Chinese Taipei after the IOC voted to recognize Beijing-based Chinese Olympic Committee as the sole body representing China in 1979. (JSM)

Meg Chang
Taiwan Today

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