The Taipei City Government yesterday celebrated winning the right to host the 2017 Summer Universiade, pledging to host a successful University Games with a total budget of almost NT$40 billion (US$1.3 billion).
Taipei City beat Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, in seeking the hosting rights of the event. The 12-day Games will be the largest international event Taipei has ever hosted to date, after the Summer Deaflympics in 2009 and the Taipei International Flora Expo last year.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who arrived in Belgium on Saturday to coordinate the bid along with a 40-person delegation, thanked the International University Sports Federation (FISU) for choosing Taipei as the host city and said obtaining the hosting rights showed the city’s capability to host international activities.
“There’s an old saying: ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way.’ This is the fifth time we’ve taken part in the bidding, and finally we made it,” Hau said in accepting the certificate from the Games committee in Belgium. “Taipei City will work with the FISU closely and make the Summer Universiade in 2017 an exciting and passionate Games.”
In a video shown at a press conference organized by the Taipei City Government, Hau and the delegation hailed the FISU’s announcement on Taipei’s winning bid and chanted “Taipei! Taipei!”
Hau thanked committee members from China for their friendly gestures and expressing support before the vote, but declined to say whether China voted for Taipei when questioned by reporters.
Meanwhile, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) thanked the city government and Sports Affairs Council (SAC) for their efforts and attributed the successful bid to the improvement of cross-strait relations.
“Obtaining the hosting rights proves that the government’s goal of improving cross-strait relations and expanding the nation’s international space is absolutely correct,” he said.
The Universiade, an international sporting event for university students, is the second-largest sports event after the Olympics in terms of member nations and the number of participating athletes, government officials said.
Taiwan’s second-largest city, Kaohsiung, has made three unsuccessful bids for the University Games, while Taipei lost a previous bid in 2009 for the 2015 Summer Universiade.
In hosting the event in 2017, Taipei City will work with Keelung, New Taipei City (新北市), Taoyuan County and Hsinchu County to hold 14 major competitions in 64 existing facilities and accommodate 12,000 athletes from 163 nations.
The central government and the Taipei City Government will share the NT$39.5 billion budget, with more than NT$12 billion to be used in the construction of six new facilities, including the Taipei Dome, a basketball court, tennis court, a swimming pool, two stadiums and an athletes’ village, Taipei Deputy Mayor Chen Hsiung-wen (陳雄文) said at a press conference at Taipei City Hall.
The Taipei Dome project, which had been delayed because of environmental concerns, was approved on Nov. 16 and the construction is scheduled to be completed within the next two years, he said in response to concerns about the construction process of the project.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) expressed concerns about the financial burden for hosting the event and said hosting international activities was not a cure-all for the city’s development.