Sun, Aug 05, 2001 - Page 16 News List

Asian X Games stars take to the air in Taipei tourney


A competitor at the 2001 Asian X Games does a stunt with his roller skates on a ramp during the qualification runs for the 2001 Asian X Tour yesterday.


To a backbeat of thrash metal and rap, Taiwan's best in-line skaters, skateboarders and BMXers were put through their paces yesterday in Taipei.

The 2001 Asian X Tour event, held in a car park near the Mitsukoshi department store in the Warner Village complex, pulled in fans and curious onlookers all day long.

The event, which was opened by a host of sports-loving media personalities, went on most of yesterday and will continue today, from around 10am in the morning until 7pm tonight.

After the finals there will be a pro-athletes demonstration and an awards ceremony.

Twenty two of the best extreme sports athletes from Taiwan will earn the right to represent their country in the 2002 Asian X Games finals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The twelve best athletes will have all their expenses and flights covered for the trip.

Organizers have pulled in pro-players from all over the world for the event, to judge, give lessons at extreme sports clinics and to give displays of the latest tricks and equipment.

Ethan Jenkin, an Englishman residing in Orange County, California, is one of the judges for the event.

Jenkin has set up his own clothing and accessory line and has been a professional vert [vertical] skater since 1996.

Having been involved with the growth of extreme sports since the early days he was an obvious choice for ESPN Star Sports to do a spot of judging, which he has been doing for the last four years.

"The scene here [in Taiwan] is getting stronger every year. It's just getting bigger and better."

Asked to compare athletes in Asia and Taiwan in particular, with their counterparts in Europe and the US, Jenkin said, "They're good and catching up fast."

He said that in the West extreme sports were sometimes seen as "underground. Here in Taiwan it seems a lot of people, all kinds of people, are catching on."

Jerry Li (李志堅 ), organizer of the competition and a communications manager at ESPN Star Sports in Taiwan said that the event had been sponsored in part by the Taipei City Government because it wanted to encourage youngsters to get involved in sport.

"The government wants to promote sport for enjoyment and wellbeing."

Li said he had been pleased at the number of people who had turned up at the event and said the standards of competition were high, especially in the stunt bicycle events.

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