Sun, May 05, 2002 - Page 16 News List

Foreigners earmarked to coach athletes


As the 14th Asian Games approaches, the Cabinet-level National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (體委會) agreed this week to employ eight foreign coaches to enhance athletes' training, local media reported.

The Asian Games will be held from Sept. 29 to Oct. 14 in Busan, South Korea.

To help prepare for the Games, the sports council -- the nation's highest sports authority -- has approved requests from eight national sports associations to hire foreign coaches.

The eight sports that will benefit from foreign training methods are: Baseball, cycling, weightlifting, softball, soccer, table tennis, equestrian pursuits and volleyball.

According to Lin Te-chia (林德嘉), vice chairman of the sports council, over 600 athletes are training for 28 of the Asian Games events.

The final selection of athletes for extra coaching will be made sometime after training sessions at Kaohsiung's National Training Center (國家訓練中心) are completed on May 10.

Even so, a shortage of funds could torpedo the coaching initiative, local media reported, and a meeting to confirm or reject the training package will be held soon.

Since 1951, the quadrennial Asian Games has been considered the biggest sports event in Asia.

A total of 9,788 athletes from 41 countries in the region participated in the previous Games, held in Bangkok, Thailand, four years ago. Taiwan won 19 gold, 17 silver and 41 bronze medals in 1988, a record for the country.

Though the Games are only five months away, however, preparations have run into difficulties.

In swimming, for example, the only athletes who have qualified for the Games are Wu Nien-ping (吳念平), Tsai Shu-min (蔡淑敏) and Yang Shang-hsuan (楊尚軒).

The Chinese Taipei Swimming Association (泳協) failed to provide enough assistance to other swimmers because of power struggles within the association over the past few months, local media said.

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