As World Games host nation, Taiwan will be hoping home advantage will inspire some of its 300-plus athletes to new heights in Kaohsiung. Here is a rundown of just some of the best prospects for success:
As a sort of unofficial national sport, one would expect Taiwan to be world-beaters. Not so — last year at an international event in Poland, Taiwan only managed fourth place.
But with the home crowd cheering them on and the climate in their favor they could do better in Kaohsiung. Shame there’s no medal available.
Prospects: A top-three finish is possible.
Liu Hao-min (劉澔旻) won gold in the women’s 1,500m surface in the Asian Championships last year, but with this race not featuring in Kaohsiung she will take to the pool for the 50m apnea and 400m surface. Although not her ideal distances, home advantage could inspire this talented fin swimmer into the medals at least once.
Prospects: Could sneak a bronze.
Team Taiwan and coach Huang Jhi-yung (黃智勇) have high hopes of a gold medal in karate, with Yan Zi-yao (嚴子堯) and Huang Yu-chi (黃鈺淇) going for gold in the kata, while the sparring will see Huang Hao-yun (黃昊昀) and Liu Ya-li (劉亞力) battle it out for a medal in the Male 80kg and Female 65kg respectively.
Prospects: Possibility of at least one gold.
To take the gold, Taiwan will probably have to beat the all-conquering Netherlands, something they failed to do during the Korfball World Under-23 Championship in Kaohsiung last year, when Taiwan lost 23-11 in the final. That was Taiwan’s only defeat in a tournament that saw them beat Belgium, the other Korfball powerhouse.
Leading Taiwan’s effort will be 21-year-old rising star Wu Chun-hsien (吳俊賢), MVP during last year’s Kaohsiung tournament, who will join one of the top teams in the Netherlands’ domestic league next season.
Prospects: Silver a distinct possibility, gold a bridge too far, perhaps.
Traditionally strong at pool, Taiwan is hoping for a “threepeat” after taking gold in the men’s pool in both the 2001 and 2005 World Games. For the men, Kaohsiung native Yang Ching-shun (楊清順), a gold medalist in 2001 and two Asian Games, and Kuo Po-cheng (郭柏成) will be vying for the title in the men’s nine ball, while for the women Lin Hsin-mei (柳信美), Lin Yuan-jun (林沅君), Chang Shu-han (張舒涵) and Tsai Pei-chen (蔡佩真) will also be hoping for success.
Prospects: Expect at least one gold.
Chen Wei-ling (陳葦綾) will be looking to add to her impressive medal collection in Kaohsiung.
Chen, who won a bronze at the last World Games in Duisburg in 2005 and repeated that feat in weightlifting at last year’s Beijing Olympics, is confident that cheered on by the home crowd she can go at least one better.
Prospects: Chen could be a golden girl at last.
After a fifth-place finish at the Beijing Olympics (the sport has now been voted off the Olympic roster), Taiwan’s ladies are targeting a top-three finish in Kaohsiung. They enter the tournament in good form, having completed a warm-up tour to Australia late last month where they won 10 and drew 1 of 11 games.
Prospects: Top-three finish.
Taiwan is to tchoukball what Brazil is to soccer. Taiwan’s men and women were World Tchoukball Champions in 1984, 1987, 1989, 1990, 2000 and 2002.