Sat, Jul 18, 2009 - Page 20 News List

THE WORLD GAMES 2009 KAOHSIUNG: Taiwan’s dragon boat teams make strong Kaohsiung start


Italy’s Luca Bellini fights for the ball against Spain during their men’s canoe polo qualifying match at the World Games in Kaohsiung yesterday. The Games run through next Sunday.


The World Games action started with a splash at Kaohsiung’s Lotus Lake yesterday.

With the sun shining brightly and the freshly refilled lake glistening, Taiwan’s dragon boat teams enjoyed a successful first day of competition.

In the 2,000m final, Taiwan took second place with a time of 9 minutes, 7.88 seconds, finishing 30.98 seconds behind winners Russia.

Earlier in the afternoon, Taiwan secured third place in the 200m final, finishing just eight-hundredths of a second behind second-placed Hungary and one second behind winners Russia.

Unfortunately, as it is an invitational sport, no official medals were awarded.

In other action at the lake, Taiwan’s medal chase got off to the worst ­possible start in the canoe polo as the nation’s ladies were soundly beaten by Great Britain by a score of 10-0.

Canoe polo may not be popular in Taiwan, but that didn’t stop the small but enthusiastic crowd from cheering on the competitors.

Although they were competing against some of the top-five ranked teams in the world, Taiwan improved as the day went on. In the second game the ladies fought bravely before losing 5-3 to a strong German team, while in the third match they went down 1-0 to France.

Their final contest of the day saw them achieve their best result yesterday, a 3-3 draw with New Zealand, with the goals coming from Liu Hui-chi, Lin Ya-ping and Chen Chih-jung.

The men also had a tough day. Invited as hosts and ranked 11th in the world, they were up against the world’s top five teams and often the gap in class was all too obvious.

Thrashed 8-0 in their first match against a strong Netherlands team, the men fought admirably in their second match against France, but too often their inexperience told as they lost patience and gave the ball away cheaply, handing the French the chance to break and score. Losing 4-0 at half time, the match finished at 5-1.

The third group game saw Taiwan lose 10-3 to Italy before they ended the day with a 4-0 defeat by Australia.

Meanwhile, over at the Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan failed to trouble the medal table in the men’s and women’s sprint orienteering.

In the men’s event, Chen Cheng-­hsiung finished down in 29th place, while the best finisher for the women was Chen Chieh in 23rd place.

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