Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) yesterday said that he has asked the Sports Administration and the Chinese Taipei Skating Union (CTSU) to jointly appeal a decision made by the International Skating Union (ISU) on Monday to terminate Taiwan’s right to host the Asian Open Figure Skating Classic in October.
“The nation’s participation in international sporting events has been interfered with by political or other unknown factors. This has affected the development of sports education, as well as the opportunities available for athletes. We should express our strongest objection [to the decision],” Pan said.
It is not the first time that the nation’s right to host a sports event has been terminated without prior notice or legitimate reason. Last year, Taichung lost the right to host the East Asian Youth Games due to the pressure from Beijing.
Photo: Lin Hsian-yun, Taipei Times
The Asian Open Figure Skating Classic was scheduled to take place at the Taipei Arena from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3
The CTSU on Tuesday announced that the ISU had told it on Monday night that the plan had been canceled and the competition would be held by the Hong Kong Skating Union instead, with the venue being in Dongguan in China’s Guangdong Province.
“We immediately contacted the ISU and inquired about the reasons for the cancelation. It told us that it was the ISU council’s decision to hand the right to host the competition to the Hong Kong Skating Union and have the competition take place in Dongguan. We are deeply sorry for what happened. We are in the process of understanding how the board came to the decision, preparing to appeal the decision and to pursue further communications with ISU officials. We will keep everybody posted if there is any further information on this matter,” the union said in a statement yesterday.
The CTSU hosted the ISU Four Continent Figure Skating Championships in 2011, 2014, 2016 and last year, and the 2017 World Junior Figure Skating Championships, it said, adding that it would quickly cancel the contracts it had signed with sponsors.
The Sports Administration said that it would meet with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee tomorrow to discuss possible ways to help the union appeal the decision.
There is no Chinese member on the ISU council, sports administration officials said.
Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said that the ISU should say explicitly for what reasons or under what pressure did it decide to cancel the competition. It should tell the truth and give the union and figure skaters the justice they deserve, she said.
Some people suspect that the cancelation might be due to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Earlier this year, the Hong Kong Skating Union rescheduled the Asian Open Figure Skating Trophy due to “recent social issues happening in Hong Kong.”
The foreign ministry said it deeply regretted the ISU’s decision to revoke Taiwan’s right to host the event due to political factors.
Beijing’s malicious suppression of Taiwanese civic groups’ attendance at global events would only incur Taiwanese hatred toward it yet again, the ministry said.
The ministry would continue to work to ensure that Taiwan’s civic groups could host and attend international sporting events, and that Taiwanese athletes could participate in them with equal rights and dignity, it added.
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