The Sports Affairs Council (SAC) yesterday said the government never wavered in its support for Taiwanese taekwondo athlete Yang Shu-chun (楊淑君), adding that Yang and the Chinese Taipei Taekwondo Association (CTTA) had different opinions regarding an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) of her disqualification at the Asian Games last year.
Yang said last month she had decided to withdraw her appeal to the CAS so she could focus on training for next year’s Summer Games in London.
However, former CTTA chairman Chen Chien-ping (陳建平) said in an article in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) yesterday that Yang was forced to drop the appeal and sign a proxy enabling the CTTA to handle the lawsuit on her behalf under threat from association officials.
Joining the attacks, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) accused President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration and CTTA chairman Angus Hsu (許安進) of negligence and intimidation.
DPP spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said the DPP had evidence proving that Hsu had pressured Yang to withdraw her appeal.
Hsu visited Seoul in April to negotiate with the World Taekwondo Federation about the case and reported to SAC Minister Tai Hsia-ling (戴遐齡) on May 17, Chen said, adding that Yang made more than a dozen phone calls to SAC Deputy Minister Steven Chen (陳士魁) for help after her June 6 meeting with Hsu.
To compel Yang to withdraw her appeal, Hsu threatened Yang by saying that her place on the Olympic taekwondo team, the position of her boyfriend and coach Liu Tsung-ta (劉聰達), as well as training expenses, would all be at stake, Chen Chi-mai said.
Hsu played a key role in the withdrawal decision, Chen Chi-mai said, because “Yang never mentioned it before Hsu’s visit to South Korea.”
Steven Chen told a press conference yesterday morning that Yang had informed the council of her meeting with Hsu and other CTTA officials on June 6, but the deputy minister said Yang and CTTA officials had differing views on the appeal.
“In the meeting, Hsu tried to talk Yang into withdrawing the appeal, but Yang was unwilling to do so for various reasons,” Steven Chen said. “Each side stood their ground. Yang felt that she would not be able to leave the meeting if she did not sign the proxy, which she eventually signed.”
Steven Chen said the council did not recognize the proxy and wanted to hear from Yang herself. He said the council had been in contact with Yang between that time and the day she announced her decision to withdraw the appeal.
“I spoke to her on the phone before the press conference and told her not to take it,” Steven Chen said, adding that the council also told Hsu it could not force her to drop the appeal.
In a press conference yesterday afternoon, Chen Chien-ping stood by his statement.
“If you were told that you may not be able to represent your country to compete in the Olympics next year and your boyfriend [Liu] may not be recruited as a coach for the Olympics, could this not seen a threat?” Chen Chien-ping said. “Why did she cry if she was not under threat?”
Chen Chien-ping said CTTA officials had held more than one meeting with Yang, adding that each meeting lasted about six to seven hours.
“She finally could not take it anymore and asked SAC officials to stand with her so that the CTTA would not make her sign it, but the SAC officials said it was beyond their jurisdiction to do so,” Chen Chien-ping said.