First Olympians depart
The first group of Taiwan’s national Olympic team, including athletes competing in archery, sailing, shooting and weightlifting, departed for London on Wednesday. The athletes are all participating in events scheduled for early in the Olympics, Sports Affairs Council Minister Tai Hsia-ling said. A larger group will depart for London on Sunday, with the taekwondo team not setting off until early next month. Yu Ai-wen, 16, started shooting four years ago and is the youngest athlete on the national team. She qualified for the London Olympics after entering the 12th Doha Asian Championships in January and will participate in the 10m air pistol (40 shots), women’s category. After losing her father in a car accident in October last year, Yu said in an interview earlier this month that she hopes to ease her family’s financial burden with prize money from her shooting. Lin Yi-chun, who will also compete in the shooting event, said before departure that their first challenge would be to get accustomed to Britain’s unstable weather. A total of 44 athletes — 19 men and 25 women — will represent Taiwan in 14 of the 26 core events at the Olympics, which will open next Friday and run through Aug. 12. The 14 events in which they will compete are archery, badminton, cycling, fencing, judo, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, track and field, and weightlifting.
Badminton team poisoned
Three Australian badminton players were confined to bed on Wednesday after suffering food poisoning while preparing for the London Olympics at their training base in the central English city of Derby. Men’s doubles pair Ross Smith and Glenn Warfe and female team member Renuga Veeran were all taken ill, meaning they could not take part in a warm-up match against Britain. “The doctor came and put them on medication and confirmed the boys had suffered from food poisoning,” Australia’s badminton team manager Lasse Bundgaard said in a statement. “They are confined to bed, will miss training today and will hopefully be recovered in time to resume tomorrow.”
Japan unveils bid slogan
Japan yesterday unveiled its slogan for the country’s bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics as “Discover Tomorrow,” as it battles Madrid and Istanbul for the global event. The slogan underpinned “global inspiration and dynamic innovation,” reflecting Japan’s bid for the Games and Tokyo as a city, bid committee president Tsunekazu Takeda said. The International Olympic Committee has chosen the Japanese capital, Madrid and Istanbul as final candidates to host the 2020 Games, with the winning city to be announced in September next year.
Semenya to carry flag
Caster Semenya will carry South Africa’s flag at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. The 21-year-old Semenya was given the honor on Wednesday for her first Olympics, three years after she was embroiled in a gender-test controversy that threatened her career. South African Olympic Committee chief executive Tubby Reddy says his body also considered double-amputee runner Oscar Pistorius, swimmer Cameron van der Burgh and long jumper Khotso Mokoena for the role. Semenya is a former 800m world champion and was the world silver medalist last year. She is one of South Africa’s best medal hopes at the London Olympics alongside Van der Burgh and swimmer Chad le Clos.