One of Taiwan’s best Touch players announced his retirement from the game recently, but has plans to coach the game in Taiwan as he makes a transition into the sport of climbing.
Wade Chang lives in Brisbane, Australia, and a few weeks ago told his teammates that he would no longer be playing the rugby-related sport at its higher levels so he can focus on rock climbing and hiking.
However, the Touch spark remains, as he indicated a desire to see teams from Taiwan compete on the world stage.
“I do not think rugby will ever make it in Taiwan,” Chang, 32, said yesterday.
“They do not have the size. But Touch is a different story. They are fast, they have the agility and athleticism. They just need the right training and they can excel at this game,” he said.
Chang learned the game in New Zealand, where it is the No. 1 team sport in terms of participation.
He moved to the South Pacific nation from Pingtung County when he was 16 to finish high school and then graduated from Auckland University of Technology with a degree in business management in sports and recreation.
After college, Chang worked at Paralympics New Zealand, the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and the Oceania Paralympic Championships in Darwin, Australia, as an event organizer and logistician before moving to London, where he worked for sports, fashion and media business IMG Worldwide at events such as Wimbledon and the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
Chang now works for oil firm Shell Australia.
Chang said the transition from sports events to the oil industry was not dramatic.
“It is all logistics,” he said. “Whether it is getting a Paralympics team from Auckland to Darwin or supplying a customer with what he needs on time, you have to have it well planned.”
Chang played Touch for the Galaxy club in Auckland and looked up the Galaxy branch in London when he moved there.
He said that the club’s international reputation was such that when a player wanted to find the sport, they would search for the name.
“[Galaxy founder] Peter Walters is known as Mr Touch in New Zealand,” Chang said. “When I moved to England, I just mentioned his name and Galaxy and all the doors opened.”
Chang said his coaching days were not over and that he would love the opportunity to work with a team in Taiwan.
“Teams could play smaller competitions and gain points toward a national title,” he said. “It does not have to be regional — as long as they learn to implement the most important part of the game: communication.”
Meanwhile, the Taipei Touch Association announced the third edition of its Taipei Touch League competition, to be held on May 10 and 24, and June 7 and 21 at the Bailing rugby fields in Shilin.
Association president Ting Fan said they expect at least six teams to register.
“Since last year, we have seen a gradual increase of the number of Touch players. We have been working with some of the schools to implement a Touch program,” Fan said. “We have also seen a gradual increase in the rate of female participation in the sport. The Touch community has grown to include Taiwanese players from all areas and age groups, as well as expats.”
League entry forms can be downloaded from tinyurl.com/lpbxu7u.